The Growing Gulf Between Silicon Valley and Washington: A National Security Issue
The gap between Silicon Valley’s tech giants and Washington, especially the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community, is a national security issue, according to a recent opinion piece in The Atlantic. While decisions on tough foreign policy actions against actors like China and Russia have become increasingly bipartisan, tech giants have made major decisions to distance themselves from many open U.S. government contracts and efforts. Over the past year, Google cancelled an AI bid and refused to bid on the JEDI IT improvement program, while simultaneously working with the Chinese government to improve a censored search engine amidst opposition from human-rights groups. Facebook has been apologetic, but continues to “deny, delay, and deflect regulation and stifle critics in private.” While some major players are working to bridge the divide between the two sectors, the efforts will not be sufficient. The authors argue that the divide stems from basic differences between the universes of the actors, in which they develop separate views. “The civil-military gap helps explain why many in tech companies harbor deep ethical concerns about helping warfighters kill people and win wars, while many in the defense community harbor deep ethical concerns about what they view as the erosion of patriotism and national service in the tech industry. Each side is left wondering, ‘how can anyone possibly think that way?’” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, when asked what he would say to engineers at tech giants, answered he would say, “hey, we’re the good guys…it’s inexplicable to me that we wouldn’t have a cooperative relationship with the private sector.” For a broader look at this gap, and provided solutions to it, read the full story at The Atlantic.