The Pentagon’s top technology official is pushing defense agencies and components to use the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract for all future cloud acquisitions and top-secret cloud capabilities.

In a memorandum publicly released on August 3, Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Information Officer John Sherman told defense agencies and DoD components to use the JWCC contract for future cloud buys, and to transition their existing cloud contacts to JWCC upon expiration.

In December 2022, DoD awarded the JWCC contract – a $9 billion multi-vendor cloud contract – to Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google, and Oracle.

The Pentagon first announced its multi-vendor cloud contract plan in July 2021, after previous failed attempts to develop a single-vendor $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud services contract. The Pentagon first pursued the JEDI contract in 2017. But after several lawsuits and complaints from other commercial cloud providers about the contracting process, DoD officially announced the cancellation of the JEDI contract in 2021.

Sherman’s motivation for JWCC future cloud buys is part of a push to rationalize cloud adoption across the agency. He explained in the August 3 memo that the JWCC is a “key vehicle in the department’s technology arsenal for [service acquisition] for current and future DoD component managed and controlled cloud environments.”

The memo also directs military departments to adopt JWCC for secret or top-secret cloud capabilities. While the military service branches can use their existing contract vehicles, Sherman said in the memo that he “encourages” them to consider JWCC for cloud procurement.

The memo does make an exception for defense intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency. These agencies will continue to use the multi-vendor Commercial Cloud Enterprise contract vehicle.

In addition, the memo directs DoD components to submit to the CIO office information regarding existing cloud contracts within the next 60 days.

According to Sherman, this information will help inform the department’s efforts to modernize the DoD’s enterprise cloud capabilities and the DoD’s broader cloud ecosystem, mission requirements, pricing, and other factors.

Sherman also announced plans to restructure the Digital Modernization Infrastructure Executive Committee – renaming it the DoD Information Enterprise Portfolio Management and Capabilities Council. The new cloud governance organization will tackle governance issues arising from oversight of classified clouds and cloud contract language.

By establishing the cloud council, the CIO office will “provide a broader forum to continue with existing and expanding digital modernization activities relevant to the department’s information enterprise, including the current and future cloud initiatives as well as contractual efforts, and review of procurement administrative lead time for cloud initiatives,” Sherman said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.