SIMI VALLEY, California — Silicon Valley firms shouldn’t be reluctant to do work for the military, said the founder and CEO of Amazon, which is currently mounting a rear-guard campaign to win a giant Pentagon cloud-contract award.
“One of the things that’s happening inside of technology companies is there are groups of employees who, for example, think technology companies should not work with the Department of Defense,” Jeff Bezos said Saturday at the Reagan National Defense Forum. “People are entitled to their opinions, but it is the job of a senior leadership team to say no,” he said.
“My view is, if big tech is going to turn their back on the Department of Defense, this country is in trouble, That just can’t happen.”
Bezos was alluding to Google employees who persuaded the company to stop supplying the military with algorithms to identify objects in battlefield drone. But he was also praising a big customer who may yet become a very big customer: the Department of Defense. Amazon has been selling its cloud services to the CIA, the Army, and the Homeland Security Department. The billionaire’s rocket company, Blue Origin, is vying for Air Force space launch contracts. And in October, it lost its biggest would-be contract — the $10 billion JEDI program — to Microsoft. Amazon is protesting, alleging improper involvement by President Trump.
“I know it’s complicated but … do you want a strong national defense or don’t you? I think you do. So we have to s ..