US needs to be defended – Amazon’s Bezos
Amazon will work enthusiastically with the US military, its founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos has said.
His unequivocal position comes as other firms, such as Google, pulled out of defence work after employee pressure.
“If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble,” Mr Bezos said.
His firm is in the process of bidding for a major contract with the US Department of Defense.
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project – known as Jedi – is a 10-year deal to offer cloud computing services, worth as much as $10bn (£7.6bn).
A number of technology firms have been involved in pitching for the work, drawing anger from employees, who have protested via petitions and resignations.
But speaking at an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of technology magazine Wired, Mr Bezos expressed his strong enthusiasm for Amazon to take on military duties.
“We are going to continue to support the DoD, and I think we should,” he said.
“One of the jobs of the senior leadership team is to make the right decision, even when it’s unpopular.”
He later added: “This is a great country – it needs to be defended.”
Last week, Google said it would not be taking its bid for Jedi forward, as the project went against its “AI principles”, published earlier this year, which said the firm would not engage in work that, by design, could spy on, injure or kill people.
Meanwhile, an open letter, said to be written by employees at Microsoft, was published on Monday. It read: “Many Microsoft employees don’t believe that what we build should be used for waging war.”