Womack, Stewart Demand DOD Release JEDI Investigation Information
Washington, May 20, 2021
Washington, DC—May 20, 2021....Continuing their oversight responsibilities, Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) and Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-2) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin and DOD Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell seeking documentation and information regarding the findings of an investigation into the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program. Though the potential 10-year, $10 billion contract has been rife with ethical and procurement issues, the DOD has failed to deliver full responses regarding these serious concerns.
Congressman Womack said, “This is the largest government cloud contract to a single vendor in history. Yet, we don’t have answers to serious ethical and procurement concerns. The Pentagon has failed to adequately address previous oversight requests, and we must ensure any future enterprise cloud procurement actions enable best-in-class capabilities. We need transparency. Our warfighters require the strongest tools, and American taxpayers deserve accountability.”
Congressman Stewart said, “The Department of Defense needs to take this issue more seriously. A contract of this magnitude regarding an issue of this significance demands immediate attention, particularly when it’s surrounded by ethical concerns. This problem isn’t going to solve itself, and the DOD can’t keep ignoring Congressional requests. Until then, it will continue to impact the warfighter and taxpaying Americans.”
In the letter, the lawmakers call for immediate access to the entire JEDI investigation file, including all collected e-mails, interview notes, and any memos. The additional request for information follows continued nonresponse from DOD regarding concerns of conflicts of interest, allegations of the procurement process being tailored to match a specific vendor, and anti-competition concerns.
Womack has been a leader on the issue and continually pushed to ensure the JEDI structure is secure, effective, and of the highest standard. He believes the best way to achieve that objective is to follow industry best practices and implement a multi-cloud environment that supports innovation and competition. He has raised concerns about the structure of this program and highlighted ethical concerns with the contract since 2018.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Secretary Austin and Mr. O’Donnell:
We write regarding the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing procurement. Since JEDI’s inception, multiple Members of Congress, including one of the undersigned, have repeatedly raised concerns to DOD regarding allegations of impropriety that now-former DOD officials engaged in unethical misconduct related to JEDI, in our opinion, these allegations remain unresolved. These Members have asked repeatedly for documents and other information specifically related to potential conflicts of interest during the JEDI procurement process—especially as it relates to Sally Donnelly’s preferential treatment of her former client, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (“Amazon”), during the JEDI procurement and her failure to properly disclose income from the sale of her firm to a longtime Amazon consultant—but have yet to receive any meaningful production in that regard. Like previous requests, we request for immediate access to the entire OIG/DCIS JEDI investigation file including all collected e-mails, interview notes, and any interim investigative memorandum.
Your failure to respond adequately to our requests is both concerning and very much is an immediate priority for us to address. As you know, the Federal Records Act requires agency heads to “make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documents of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency’s activities.” 44 U.S.C. § 3101. Records include “all recorded information, regardless of form or characteristics, made or received by a Federal agency under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business . . . ,” 44 U.S.C. § 3301, to include e-mail communications, 36 C.F.R. § 1222.10.
According to Federal regulations, “[a]gencies must implement a records maintenance program so that complete records are filed or otherwise identified and preserved, records can be readily found when needed, and permanent and temporary records are physically segregated from each other or, for electronic records, segregable. 36 C.F.R. § 1222.34. Significantly, a key purpose for requiring agencies to store records is to “[m]ake possible a proper scrutiny by Congress or other duly authorized agencies of the Government.” 36 C.F.R. § 1222.22.
As such, we remind you—and we expect for you already to be aware—that DOD and DOD OIG both are under a legal obligation to preserve and cease from destroying or deleting all documents, communications, records, data, and information, whether electronically stored or in hard copy, relevant to these matters.
We look forward to discussing these matters, as they continue to impact substantially the warfighter, taxpayers, the lives of Americans throughout the country.
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.