During his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said while Google continues to not work with the U.S. military, they will work with China. He said their work with China in turn benefits the Chinese military.
“The work that Google is doing with China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military and I’ve been very public on this issue as well,” Dunford said. “The way I described it to our industry partners is look we’re the good guys and the values we represent and the system we represent is the one that will allow, and has allowed you, to thrive.”
“We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China, knowing there is that indirect benefit, and frankly ‘indirect’ maybe not a full characterization of the way it really is,” he continued. “It’s more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”
Dunford’s comments were later highlighted by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO):
Must watch video: Joint Chiefs Chairman says Google refuses to work with US military but provides “direct benefit” to China’s military pic.twitter.com/MadQVJQK4a— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) March 14, 2019
Task & Purpose reported last year Google said it will no longer work with the Pentagon beyond its 2017 contract on “Project Maven, an effort to have artificial intelligence help analyze footage from drones.”
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan also warned about China’s increased spending on its military.
“China’s defense spending approaches that of the U.S., when we take into account purchasing power and the portion of our budget going to military pay and benefits. “That, coupled with China’s organized approach to steal foreign technology, has allowed China to modernize its missile, space, and cyber capabilities, as well as project power far beyond its borders,” he said.
The threat China poses, along with Russia, is why he and other Department of Defense leaders say the $718 billion defense budget requested for fiscal year 2020 is needed.