Today, Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) secured a bipartisan agreement to obtain documentation and information from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). This critical information is regarding the findings of an investigation into the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program. The ten-year, $10 billion contract is ride with ethical and procurement issues. Despite that fact, and despite multiple requests from Rep. Stewart, the DOD has failed to deliver full responses regarding these serious concerns.
Rep. Stewart said, “A contract of this magnitude regarding an issue of this significance demands immediate attention, particularly when surrounded by ethical concerns. This problem isn’t going to solve itself. Yet, the Department of Defense continues to ignore Congressional requests. Thankfully, today, my Democratic colleagues agreed to help me in pursuit of this information. It is one of my constitutional responsibilities, as well as that of my colleagues, to ensure taxpayer money is spent wisely. This is an important step toward ensuring we uphold that duty.”
For the past year, Members of Congress have been contacting DOD Secretary Lloyd Austin and DOD Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell to obtain documents related to the investigation of the JEDI cloud procurement. Still, the DOD has not shared the relevant information. Today, Rep. Stewart offered an amendment that asks the Department to turn over the source documents received, collected, and reviewed for the JEDI report. If they did not agree to cooperate, their funding would be negatively affected.
Fortunately, Democratic members of the committee share these concerns. In return for Rep. Stewart agreeing to withdraw this amendment, and not exercise the power of the purse, they have agreed to help Republicans in obtaining the investigation information. The committee can now demand transparency from the DOD on a bipartisan basis to address potential conflicts of interest, allegations of the procurement process being tailored to match a specific vendor, and anti-competition concerns.