Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hit out at the search engine giant as he spoke during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday.
‘We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit,’ he said.
‘Frankly, “indirect” may be not a full characterization of the way it really is, it is more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.’
Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hit out at Google on Thursday and said the company’s work in China was ‘indirectly benefiting the Chinese military’
Dunford has long been critical of US tech firms that work with geopolitical competitors, including China, but don’t help the Department of Defense.
Last year Google said it was no longer vying for a $10billion cloud computing contract with the Defense Department, in part because the company’s new ethical guidelines do not align with the project.
And in June Google said it would not renew a contract to help the US military analyze aerial drone imagery when it expires, as the company sought to defuse an internal uproar over the deal.
Meanwhile, Google came under fire last year after it was revealed the company was studying the possibility of launching a censored search engine in China with the Chinese government.
The search giant dropped the plans following backlash, but CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has invested in China for years and plans to continue to do so.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan also hit out at Google on Thursday, saying it had a ‘lack of willingness to support DoD program’
Dunford and Shanahan appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. The committee heard testimony regarding the Department of Defense Budget posture
‘The way I described it to our industry partners is: Look, we’re the good guys,’ Dunford said at the hearing, which was regarding the Defense Department’s budget posture.
‘The values that we represent and the system we represent is the one that will allow and has allowed you to thrive.’
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan also hit out at Google on Thursday, saying it had a ‘lack of willingness to support DoD program’.
‘$5 trillion of [China’s] economy is state-owned enterprises,’ he continued. ‘So the technology that has developed in the civil world transfers to the military world, it’s a direct pipeline.’
‘Not only is there a transfer, there is systemic theft of US technology that facilitates even faster development of emerging technology.’
Last year Google said it was no longer vying for a $10billion cloud computing contract with the Defense Department,and in June Google said it would not renew a contract to help the US military analyze aerial drone imagery when it expires
‘The talent is in this country. We need to use the talent in this country and the talent in this country needs to support our great power competition.’
Republican Sen Josh Hawley also sharply criticized the tech company during the hearing, referring to it as ‘a supposedly American company’.
‘We are in a struggle with the Chinese government over whether or not they’re going to become a regional and maybe global hegemon with values very different from ours, certainly values that do not favor freedom in the world’ he said.
‘We have an American company that does not want to do work with our defense department which is one thing, but they’re happy to help the Chinese.’
‘At least the Chinese government that is, the Chinese military, at least indirectly,’ he added. ‘I think that’s just extraordinary.’