Amazon has reached a US$10 billion deal with the Pentagon for a cloud computing contract, CEO Jeff Bezos said, adding that it was a source of pride to be able to help defend this great country, at the San Francisco Wired 25th Anniversary.
“Sometimes one of the jobs of the senior leadership team is to make the right decision, even when it’s unpopular. And if big tech companies are going to turn their back on the US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble,” Bezos said. “I know everyone is conflicted about the current politics in this country, but this country is a gem.”
Moreover, Bezos promoted the role of tech companies in helping the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and went on to say that big U.S. corporations not taking a role in supporting national defense was an issue, setting up Amazon as an important ally in this field and as an example of private sector involvement in government affairs.
Employees in companies such as Google and Microsoft have raised technical and ethical issues for assuming the type of contract that Amazon is undertaking with the DoD. Specifically, Microsoft employees claim "Many Microsoft employees don't believe that what we build should be used for waging war," according to a post on Medium.
This comes just weeks after Amazon announced a wage increase to US$15 per hour, which, however, came with an elimination of monthly bonuses and stock awards for workers in the warehouse area — a move which was highly criticized by the affected workers.