Microsoft President Brad Smith – whose company is no stranger to high-profile Federal contract award protests – urged steps to reexamine the bid protest process during testimony at a Feb. 23 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on emerging technologies and national security.
“I do think there’s a real opportunity to look at the process, streamline it, put in place some tighter deadlines, consider legal reforms that would apply those deadlines to the judicial aspects as well,” said Smith. “We don’t think that others should be denied an opportunity to protest, maybe for better and worse, that is part of the American way to some degree, but it sure would be beneficial if it could move faster.”
Microsoft is an involved party in the highly publicized Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract decision. The Defense Department reaffirmed its decision to award the JEDI contract to Microsoft in September 2020, and the contract remains under protest by AWS.
During his hearing testimony, Smith didn’t detail what steps should be taken to improve the protest process, but did offer that the current process wasn’t keeping pace with technological innovation.
Smith also echoed sentiments from Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., that the technology community must do a better job of sharing threat intelligence, considering the SolarWinds breach.
“We do need to enhance the sharing of threat intelligence … and our basic challenge today is that that information too often exists in silos, it exists in different silos in the government, it exists in different companies, and it doesn’t come together,” said Smith. He added that it’s time to begin discussions on a way to impose some form of notification obligation on entities in the private sector.