Jeff Bezos’s company hosts top secret CIA data and powers the US immigration case management system. Now it’s poised to take on a $10bn Pentagon project.
First it sold books. Then it added gadgetry, groceries and chipper virtual assistants. But Amazon’s latest expansion will take many shoppers by surprise.
, aspiring military behemoth.
In the not too distant future, US soldiers may rely on Amazon-run systems to trade intelligence, relay orders and call for help. Drone footage might be scoured for wanted men and women by Amazon software. Defense department quartermasters would use Amazon technology to move ammunition and supplies.
For Jeff Bezos
, it’s not a question of whether customers will mind his company’s defense ambitions, or of complaints raised by civil liberties advocates. As Amazon’s face and founder casts it, the issue is one of patriotism.
“This is a great country and it does need to be defended,” Bezos said during an October Wired magazine summit. “If big tech companies are going to turn their back on US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble.”
Now Amazon is the leading contender for a 10-year, $10bn project to accelerate the Pentagon’s move into cloud computing. The Pentagon has said the goal of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure – widely known by its Star Wars-styled acronym, Jedi – is to increase American “lethality” by replacing its antiquated, segmented IT systems.