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U.S. Defense chief won't review $10 bln cloud computing deal due to conflict of interest

Nandita Bose

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WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has removed himself from reviewing a disputed $10 billion cloud computing contract because of a possible conflict of interest, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

"Although not legally required to, he (Esper) has removed himself from participating in any decision making... due to his adult son's employment with one of the original contract applicants," Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement.

Esper has delegated decision-making concerning the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud (JEDI) program to Deputy Secretary David Norquist, Hoffman said.

The JEDI contract is part of a broad modernization of the Pentagon's information technology systems and has been mired in controversy.

The Pentagon put the contract on hold in August after President Donald Trump said his administration was examining Amazon.com Inc's bid following complaints from other technology companies. (Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)