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IBM Hires Lobbyists to Help Win Pentagon JEDI Cloud Business

By Chris Cornillie and Jorge Uquillas | April 3, 2018 4:14PM ET

IBM and rival technology companies vying for the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract are intensifying lobbying efforts as the federal government prepares to open bidding for one the largest-ever programs of its kind.

International Business Machines Corp. retained Washington lobbying firm Crossroads Strategies LLC to make its case regarding the Pentagon’s “cloud computing strategy and programs,” according to a lobbying registration disclosure. It’s one of about a dozen companies competing for the cloud deal, which could be worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years.

Pentagon officials announced last month that JEDI would be a single-award contract, seemingly tilting the contest in favor of cloud computing giants such as Amazon Web Services LLC and Microsoft Corp.

Crossroads lobbyists listed in the registration include two with ties to legislators representing the state of Washington, where Amazon is headquartered. Shay Hancock was a military legislative assistant to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.). Smith is ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. Another lobbyist, Marc Numedahl, was the military legislative assistant to Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), also a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Representatives from IBM and Crossroads declined to comment.

IBM isn’t the only JEDI competitor using the force of K Street. CSRA Inc., which built the Defense Department’s milCloud solution, spent $150,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017 on defense and IT issues including the Pentagon’s move to the cloud, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Government.