Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he has no “firm timeline in mind” for completing a review of the Pentagon’s controversial enterprise cloud procurement and hinted that other factors may delay the program.
Speaking to reporters Sept. 5, Esper said the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General’s review of the Pentagon’s handling of the procurement, potentially worth $10 billion over 10 years, also hinders the future of the program.
“I saw where another DoD IG is doing another review. So in some ways, the timeline isn’t completely mine,” Esper told reporters Sept. 5.
Legislators, including Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, have written letters to Esper asking for the award to be delayed until after the inspector general had completed its review. In early August, after pressure from Congress and reported criticism of the program by President Donald Trump, Esper announced he was going to review the contract. At the time, Pentagon spokesperson Elissa Smith said “no decision will be made on the program until he has completed his examination.”
However, Esper emphasized that the Pentagon needed cloud technology to develop better artificial intelligence capabilities, but did not specifically say that JEDI was the solution.