Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos criticized employee activists recently, stating that Silicon Valley tech firms should be free to do business with the U.S. Military. According to Bezos, it is up to senior management to tell employees “no” when they become activists against their own employers and their government contracts. Bezos added, “My view is if big tech is going to turn their backs on the Department of Defense, this country is in trouble. That just can’t happen.”
Business Insider reports that while being interviewed at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated that unless Silicon Valley tech firms work with the United States military, “this country is in trouble.”
During the interview, Bezos criticized employee activists stating: “One of the things that’s happening inside technology companies is there are groups of employees who for example think that technology companies should not work with the Department of Defense.”
A recent example of this was Google’s contract with the U.S. military on a drone project called Project Maven. The firm was forced to abandon the project following mass outcry from company employees. Bezos commented: “I think it’s a really important issue, and people are entitled to their opinions, but it is the job of a senior leadership team to say no.”
“It’s the senior leadership’s team to say to people: ‘Look, I understand these are emotional issues, that’s OK and we don’t have to agree on everything, but this is how we’re going to do it. We are going to support the Department of Defense.’ This country is important,” he added.
Amazon has previously been criticized by its employees and pressured the firm to end its relationship with ICE, which so far Amazon has refused to do.”My view is if big tech is going to turn their backs on the Department of Defense, this country is in trouble. That just can’t happen,” Bezos said.
Bezos further stated: “We are the good guys. I really believe that. And I know it’s complicated, but do you want a strong national defense or don’t you? I think you do.” Currently, Amazon is protesting the Pentagon’s decision to award a $10 billion cloud contract called JEDI to Microsoft. Amazon is alleging that it lost the contract due to bias against it.