In Upset Evil Empire Defeats JEDI


What is JEDI

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, was a contract between the Department of Defense and Microsoft to modernize Information Technology. Ten billion dollars in taxpayer funds were to pay for this update which the DoD considers an absolute necessity.

It came into effect back in 2019 when Microsoft won the contract over rival Amazon. The contract is now null and void as the DoD initiated contract termination procedures and Microsoft supports the decision.

Why was JEDI Cancelled

Back when the contract was awarded, the President of the United States publicly stated his preference that it be awarded to Microsoft instead of Amazon because the executive considered the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, a political enemy.

An investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general provided no clarity. A number of high-ranking White House officials refused to cooperate. Now, twenty months later, the contract is dead and the process must begin again.

Twenty Months Lost

There are a number of factors to consider in this entire mess. Libertarian ideology underlies almost every one of them.

Business must not be tied up in politics. I admit that bridge is so far behind us we’d need the Hubble Space Telescope to find a time when politicians weren’t meddling. This fact doesn’t stop me from tilting against that particular windmill. Why on earth is the President of the United States, a United States Senator, a United States Congressman, or any of their political appointees making any statements or decision in regards to a project like JEDI?

I understand the Department of Defense comes under the purview of said politicians but business done by that entity does not, at least in my opinion. Because President Trump made clear conflict of interest statements in regard to the contract, it doesn’t even really matter if his staff interfered or not. Amazon has a case.

Imagine you are running a business with a large bid at stake with a government agency. Your local politician states she or he wants your competitor to get the contract. It’s clear you’d kick up a fuss and plunk down more money for the next election cycle. Yet another product of the folly that is the current course of the United States.

The fingerprint of politicians litters every decision made these days and our military is suffering because of it. We’ve got a trio of Zumwalt Class destroyers that cost over $22 billion and doesn’t have a main gun. The United Army told Congress they didn’t need any more Abrams tanks but got them anyway. I won’t even talk about the F35.

Meanwhile, soldiers can’t get clean water through their home plumbing right here in the United States. Veterans wait in line at the Veterans Administration to get medical care.

Many, if not all, of these problems come back to politicians with no expertise or even basic knowledge interfering in decisions.


I don’t care if you’re a Trump fan or you hate him. Your security is at risk because Trump couldn’t keep his big mouth shut. We should be twenty months into the upgrade by now, whether by Amazon or Microsoft. That’s the problem with politicians interfering in business decisions.

There was a time when Republicans and Libertarians aligned on this issue, no more. We few stand alone against a juggernaut of politicians and their supporters who seem to be rushing, arms wide open, with smiles on their faces, toward despotism.

The people of the United States, much as it pains me to say, seem to want one person, with no understanding of the issue at hand, to make all the decisions regarding said issue.

Billions Spent on Paperless Vet Software – No Results

Software DevelopmentThere was an interesting story this morning in the news about how several software development projects for the government burned through billions of dollars and produced no results.

Basically the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs wanted to create a single system to keep track of their healthcare records. The reason for the need to make this sort of unified system is that currently dozens of pieces of software don’t communicate with one another and this leads to long delays for veterans seeking medical care. When you need medical care a long delay is not merely a nuisance, it can be a life-threatening issue.

I work for a company that does software development and I wanted to talk to a few of our developers before I wrote this blog. I thought that it couldn’t be that hard to create a database driven tool. Certainly, I imagined, scanning in all the old paper records would be quite time-consuming and cost much in the way of salary for the people doing it, but the software itself couldn’t be that complex.

I was sort of right. The complexity of such software is immense because they are trying to replace dozens of different systems, all with their own record retention quirks. Transferring the existing records requires tremendous attention to detail. In addition the ability of the systems to sort through perhaps hundreds of billions of records is apparently no easy trick for any software. We work with one client who has an enormous amount of data and their aging database system can take five minutes to retrieve a piece of information. If you take five minutes of computer time and then imagine every single vet making a claim at that moment; it’s easy to see how it would quickly cause a system to collapse.

That being said, the developers I spoke with said the problem was most likely the government took the bid from the wrong company. That a software developer used to working with massive amounts of data probably made a realistic bid on how long it was going to take and how much money would be needed. They were likely underbid by a company that did not understand the complexity of what was involved, and offered a low bid.

I don’t know for a fact that this is what happened but it certainly seems likely as the software was eventually completely scrapped.

Money was spent and nothing was gained. Now they will either have to rebid the entire project or simply give up because there isn’t money in the budget to complete the task. This means that veterans waiting for adjudication on their claims will continue to wait, the wait will get progressively get longer, and the chance for errors progressively higher.

I’ve written before about how the low-bid system is extremely detrimental to honest companies who simply try to provide a good product at a fair price. I’ve mentioned before that bribery in the bidding process is rampant both from government workers and the contractors hoping to get the bid.

A company makes an artificially low bid, collects billions and provides nothing, declares bankruptcy, the executives cash their checks and move on, taxpayers foot the bill, while congressmen buy a new house with the kickback money.

The government is so large that billions of dollars are stolen without a second thought. The money is so immense as to make even an honorable person compromise his principles. What would you do for a billion dollars? Be honest.

The simple, easy solution? There isn’t one, despite what most pundits say.

In my newest novel the companions are contemplating an immense task and are advised by General Yumanar; Those who attempt to move a mountain will always fail. Those who start by lifting a single rock eventually succeed.

And thus I write my blog, my novels.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 for a full length eBook)
Upcoming Release: The Spear of the Hunt