SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos warned Saturday that America will find itself “in trouble” if the leadership of large tech companies decide not to work with the Pentagon.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Bezos, whose Amazon Web Services and Blue Origins firms are both in competition for defense dollars, received applause from the pro-defense crowd when he stated that the United States “are the good guys. I really believe that.”
“If big tech is going to turn their backs on the Department of Defense, this country’s in trouble. That just can’t happen,” he said.
His comments seemed to throw shade at competitor Google, the tech giant who last year pulled out of a Pentagon agreement due to internal pressure from a group of employees. Some in the defense world have criticized Google leadership for not standing up to the relatively small but vocal group, a stance Bezos aligned himself with while not naming his competitor.
“It is the job of the senior leadership team to say ‘no,’ ” Bezos said. “So it’s on the senior leadership team to say: ‘I understand these are emotional issues, that’s OK. We don’t have to agree on everything. But this is how we are going to do it. We are going to support the Department of Defense. This country is important.’ ”
Bezos did not touch on the question of the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud computing contract, which his company has decided to protest after DoD officials selected Microsoft as the winner.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.