Google will no longer compete for a multibillion dollar cloud computing contract with the Pentagon because the project may conflict with its corporate mission.
In a statement released Monday, Google said it was dropping its bid for a program known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). The DOD is looking to move massive amounts of data to the cloud.
“While we are working to support the US government with our cloud in many areas, we are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn’t be assured that it would align with our AI Principles and second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications,” Google’s statement said.
Google’s leadership and employees have been at odds over US government contracts. More than 4,000 employees signed a petition this year demanding “a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.” About a dozen employees resigned in protest.
CNN reported in June that Google wouldn’t renew its contract for the Pentagon’s Project Maven program when it ends in March 2019. The program uses artificial intelligence to enhance drone strikes.
Google said it might have been interested in bidding on a portion of the work if the DOD was open to using multiple cloud providers.
But the Pentagon claims awarding it to multiple companies would be too complex and slow the migration of the data.
Google said that it would “continue to pursue strategic work to help state, local and federal customers modernize their infrastructure and meet their mission critical requirements.”