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Nick Wakeman

GD CEO Novakovic expresses dismay over tech firms that won't work with DOD

General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic didn’t hold back when asked at an event in Boston this week about commercial tech companies that don’t want to work with the Defense Department.

Taking part in a Boston College CEO Club event on Tuesday, Novakovic said it was alarming that some Silicon Valley companies avoid taking on work with the military services and intelligence agencies. Coincidentally, the event was moderated by Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy, who made some news himself this week.

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While not naming names, Novakovic was surely thinking about Google which walked away from Project Maven because employees were objecting to the company’s artificial intelligence technology being used to process imagery that could be used to improve targeting by drones.

“I’m frankly alarmed when I see come companies to whom much is given not willing to work with the U.S. government,” she said in response to an audience question.

“Who do they think provides them this freedom? Who do they think the platform for their technology innovation comes from?” she said. “It comes from security and stability of this nation. So I find as an American that’s troubling.”

If she had a mic in her hand, that would be a great moment to drop it.

She did go on to say that General Dynamics works with a lot of Silicon Valley firms.

“There are real opportunities for cooperation, and many of those companies do cooperate,” she said.

GD has alliances with what DOD calls non-traditional suppliers and has an office in Silicon Valley.

Working with emerging technology companies is practically a patriotic calling the way Novakovic described it.

“I think it’s our job … to canvass throughout the United States and take that rich body of research that we produce as a nation every year and figure out how we make that work to enhance our national security,” she said.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:58 AM


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