Frank Konkel, executive editor of Nextgov, discusses the huge amounts of money moving out of the federal government as the fiscal year ends, and what has happened since the announcement of the JEDI contract.
The clock is still ticking to the end of the fiscal year. Agencies have to “use-or-lose” billions of dollars by September 30. Frank Konkel, senior technology editor at Government Executive, says that because of this year’s late appropriations, much more money is being funneled into Q4 contracts than in previous years. “We’re going to have a lot more spending in the second half of the year… Fourth quarter is going to be crazy. You can do a conservative analysis and suggest that at least another $200 billion is going to be spent on contracts,” Konkel said. “The reason for that is that the budget came six months late, and in the time between getting this year’s budget and the previous year’s budget, agencies were very cautious, especially on the civilian side. Then they get all that money, and they have a very short period to spend it.” Konkel also writes this week about the Department of Defense’s JEDI cloud program. One year after the program’s announcement, it’s been through a roller coaster of controversy. Konkel says that despite this, the contract hasn’t changed much from the original concept. “What they had said they wanted a year ago is basically what they’re getting now. We have a contract, we know the value will be up to $10 billion over a decade and we know that it will go to a single commercial cloud service provider…” Konkel said. “The stuff that happened in the interim was a huge fight between public and private, between companies to position themselves to bid on this thing. You had some waffling back and forth… bids are due in two or three weeks, we’ll see what happens then.”