As the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) moves toward the bidding process for its Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract, Google said it wants an opportunity to get in on the deal.
The DoD in July announced plans to pursue the JWCC contract to replace the JEDI cloud service contract that the agency cancelled earlier this year. The JWCC is intended to be a multi-cloud, multi-vendor award selected from a pre-approved group of companies. The DoD has already identified Microsoft and Amazon as potentially capable of fulfilling the contract’s requirements.
Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in a Nov. 11 blog post that the company should be considered alongside Microsoft and Amazon to compete for the JWCC contract.
“We know very little about the specifics of the [request for proposal] because it has not yet been issued, and Google has not yet been invited to bid. Most of our information is based on what we know of the JEDI proposal [and] the JWCC market research process,” Kurian wrote. “However, if we are invited to be part of the JWCC contract, we will absolutely bid.”
When the DoD first announced the JEDI contract, Google did not bid because it wasn’t ready at that time, but it is now, Kurian said.
“When the JEDI RFP was issued, Google Cloud was not in a position to bid. Our technologies were not ready to meet various classification levels and other technical requirements necessary to compete,” Kurian wrote. He also stated that given the single award structure of the JEDI contract, “there would be certain projects the DOD would pursue that were incompatible with Google’s AI Principles.”
But Kurian said those previous challenges are no longer an obstacle because JWCC is structured as a multi-vendor award. That means no single vendor will do all the projects contemplated under the framework. He also wrote that Google “matured [it’s] services to meet a number of government classification levels.”
Additionally, Kurian addressed past protests by Google employees against a potential partnership with the DoD regarding the possible weaponizing of AI. In 2018, Google employees had reportedly pressured the tech company to not use AI for weaponizing efforts claiming that such actions may violate the company’s ethics policy on the use of AI.
“We understand that not every Googler will agree with this decision,” he wrote. “But we believe Google Cloud should seek to serve the government where it is capable of doing so, and the work aligns with our AI principles and company values.”
DoD said earlier this year it plans to issue JWCC solicitations to Microsoft and Amazon, but was open to the possibility of including the three other largest players in the U.S. commercial cloud market; Google, IBM, and Oracle.