During a panel discussion at the Reagan National Defense Forum, which occurred at California’s Ronal Regan Presidential Library, Mircrosoft’s President Brad Smith stated that the company is committed towards offering access to the technology it develops to the U.S. military. Apparently, workforces in some software companies are opposing their involvement military contracts.
Smith and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had earlier addressed this issue in a Q&A session with employees. Smith said that they believe in strengthening the defense of the U.S. and want people who defend the country to have access to the best available technologies, including those from Microsoft.
The company does not expect every employee of Microsoft to support its every decision, Smith added. Microsoft also respects the wishes of those employees who might be citizens of or work in other countries and do not want to work on particular projects, he emphasized.
According to Smith, if any employee would want to work on a different team or project for any genuine reason, the company assures them that it supports talent mobility. Records show that Microsoft has been working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for four decades.
Smith further pointed out that Microsoft’s technology can be found across the American military establishments, helping to power field operations, front offices, ships, bases, training facilities and aircrafts. The company is also aware of the many military veterans it employs, he mentioned.
Microsoft recently bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project (JEDI) of DOD. The project would involve re-engineering the department’s end-to-end IT infrastructure, from the Pentagon to the field-level for supporting the servicemen and women of the country.
Smith assured that Microsoft would be open to hearing any concerns raised by its employees. In June this year, thousands of employees at Google had opposed a contract which enabled the military to access the company’s artificial intelligence tools for analyzing footage from drones. Google then confirmed it would not renew the contract.