On July 18 2019 Jeff Bezo’s highly ethically conflicted blog The Washington Post reported on President Trump as Commander in Chief challenging a US $10 Billion contract for essentially a 21st Century Military Combat Cloud.
Trump says Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud contract should be investigated.
President Trump on Thursday said he would direct aides to investigate a pending military contract widely expected to be awarded to Amazon, saying he had heard multiple complaints about an allegedly unfair bidding process.
His involvement would be an unusual Oval Office intervention in a process normally handled by military officials trained to follow complicated procurement laws and regulations.
I am not being unfair, The Washington Post now owned by the Bezo’s Amazon business empire, has been known to simply publish their owner’s press releases as hard news.
Just one example of mixing news and personal commerce, because the link to the Washington Post picture of Jeff Bezos is certainly not an honest news picture, it is pure currying favor by editors who should know better.
Since I sincerely doubt President Trump would have to call an Amazon “techie” help desk, I can share my experiences. My experience however minor in scope still personally in my opinion puts President Trump on very solid ground in calling out the fast arriving probably sole source Amazon contract.
I received an Amazon Fire Tablet as a gift and it comes in very handy when traveling. It is a good product but sadly it literally went dark, there is only the On/Off switch with no BIT technology (built in testing), so it simply works or doesn’t and it died.
I was around 150 miles from my home and decided to call the Amazon toll free number to ask for help. I must stress everyone I spoke with was polite. Unfortunately, my connecting with tech support put a very heavily accented male on the phone.
Since they use name and then e-mail address for their engagement, he had a terribly time understanding the spelling of my name. It went on for a while back and forth and then finally the “may I speaker with a supervisor” request.
“Yes” and then indefinite hold, so after over 10 minutes I tried again.
This time a less accented help male came on the line and I asked his name “Dice” spelled D I C E-you men like Andrew Dice Clay (lame joke) but he laughed so I though progress.
But alas he also had trouble with my name. This time I asked him to spell it back, and for the first time in my life it wasn’t the B for P problem, like Justin Timberlake but they had spelled my name with two “t”s it was a t for p problem that we fixed.
I was then told my Fire Tablet was not under warrantee –“Ok what can I do I really need it for a trip?”
Mary then came on the line and offered me a 25% discount. That was fine with me so could you please send me a new one.
“Sorry I cannot do that you have to order it on line.”
Me-“you mean with the Amazon Fire Tablet that doesn’t work?’
So we left it that when I arrived back with my home computer I could go on line and order a replacement.
But then I got clever and called Amazon again.
Another heavily accented male who would not divulge what country their help desk service was located in answered my call.
I asked where the nearest Amazon store was giving him my Arlington VA zip code; he replied no store in my zip code, “how about Arlington County?” –nope!
Well then how about Washington DC?
He was pleased that he had found a store in Bellevue Washington.
I informed him that I had said Washington DC, District of Columbia our Nation’s Capital.
He simply repeated closest store is in Bellevue.
Let us take this experience and extrapolate it to when the military might be working with a projected Amazon combat cloud.
I can imagine at the height of a combat engagement a Fleet Admiral would be told he would have to travel 2, 763 miles to replace a component in his combat cloud.
But wait he could use a UPS truck to deliver it.
However since my doorbell rang at 10 PM during Amazon Prime time last week with a UPS Driver saying his truck just hit and disabled my parked car I am also not so sure of the Amazon logistical supply chain.
But that is a different story for a different day.
Ed Timperlake was Director Technology Assessment, International Technology Security, Office of the Secretary Of Defense, 2003-2009.