Four Republican members of Congress have sent a letter to Donald Trump, urging him to press ahead with the Pentagon's $10 billion cloud contract, which has been at the centre of a legal battle between US tech giants.
The letter, seen by CNBC, was reportedly signed by Michael Turner, Elise Stefanik and Robert Wittman, three members of the House Armed Services Committee, as well as its chairman Mac Thornberry.
“We believe that it is essential for our national security to move forward as quickly as possible with the award and implementation of this contract,” the lawmakers wrote, branding the contract as an important first step in keeping up with countries like China.
Big Tech Chasing Pentagon’s Contract
The Department of Defence is currently looking for a tech company to move the nation’s top-secret military information onto the cloud.
Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle have all bid for the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud-computing contract. The winner was initially supposed to be announced last fall, but the final choice has been delayed due to objections from two companies.
In April, Oracle and IBM were eliminated from the competition as they failed to meet the contract's requirements, leaving Amazon and Microsoft as the final contenders.
They had already challenged Amazon’s bid last year, claiming that awarding the lucrative winner-take-all contract to a single vendor wouldn’t be in the government's best interests, but the Government Accountability Office has rejected their complaints.
"I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon,” Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday. “They’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid."
"Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it, having to do with Amazon and the Department of Defence. And I will be asking them to look at it very closely to see what’s going on because I have had very few things where there’s been such complaining."
However, the lawmakers told Donald Trump that the House Armed Services Committee had overseen the award process “from the beginning”.
“As you know, the courts have upheld DOD’s handling of the competition,” the letter said. “While it is understandable that some of the companies competing for the contract are disappointed at not being selected as one of the finalists, further unnecessary delays will only damage our security and increase the costs of the contract.”
The Pentagon is expected to choose the winner as soon as August.