“You can’t turn your back on the country”: the world’s richest man says he wants to cooperate more with the Pentagon

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave a speech in support of the U.S. Department of Defense and urged U.S. technology corporations to increase ties with the military

Amazon Corporation plans to expand cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense, because such contacts are beneficial for both sides. It was stated by the founder and CEO of Amazon, the richest man in the world according to Forbes Jeff Bezos at the annual forum on the U.S. defense industry at the Reagan Library in California.

“We’re going to continue to support the Department of Defense, this country is important to us,” Reuters quoted Bezos as saying. The billionaire explained that the Pentagon, through cooperation with technology corporations, can count on accelerated effective modernization and corporations, in turn, can count on major contracts of the Defense Department.

Connections with the military is a hotly debated issue in the IT industry. In 2018, the use of modern technology for military purposes was opposed by Google employees. More than 4,600 people working for the company signed a petition against the extension of a contract to develop Project Maven, a program for the Pentagon to analyze images from drones, Reuters reported. At least 13 people resigned at the time, noting that participation in the program contradicts Google’s “do no harm” mission and carries risks associated with the use of artificial intelligence in life-threatening situations.

Bezos assured the audience at a forum at the Reagan Library that he respected such views. But in his view, ultimately it’s up to company executives to determine which projects to work on with the Pentagon and which not.

“In my opinion, if big technology turns its back on the Defense Department, this country is in big trouble,” the billionaire stressed.

In November, Amazon filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Pentagon’s decision to give a $10 billion cloud storage contract to Microsoft Corp. Amazon was considered to be the favorite to win the bid. But politics intervened in determining the winner, suspects Bezos: U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration may have influenced the outcome of the tender because of the president’s criticism of The Washington Post, published by Amazon’s founder.