During a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting this week, General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was deliberately pointed in his criticism of Google’s engagements in China, accusing the company of supporting the regime in Beijing counter to U.S. interests. “The work that Google is doing in China,” he told senators, “is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military.”
The U.S. Defense Department and the country’s more hawkish politicians are irritated that Google has seemingly pulled back from working on U.S. defense projects, withdrawing AI and cloud expertise from the frontline. This includes the decision to pull out of both Project Maven, following an internal employee backlash, and the competition for the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud-computing contract, valued at as much as $10 billion over ten years.
“Look, we’re the good guys,” General Dunford added, “the system that we represent is the one that has allowed you to thrive. We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit. and frankly indirect may not be a correct characterization of how it really is, it’s more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”
This article originally appeared on Forbes