Google’s Eric Schmidt to lead Pentagon project

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has quite a diversified portfolio when it comes to his work outside the company. While his and his wife Wendy’s Schmidt Family Foundation has aims consistent with Google’s “don’t be evil” slogan — help people, help the planet — he’s just taken a role with an organization some people in this country and around the world see as evil incarnate: the Pentagon.

Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, will head a new advisory board to the Pentagon that’s intended to apply Silicon Valley’s innovation techniques and best practices to the Defense Department, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The famed Internet company exec is clearly qualified to lead the new Defense Innovation Advisory Board, but helping the Pentagon improve its national defense and war-fighting capabilities carries certain risks. As Wired reported in November, tech execs are typically “leery of appearing to be too close to the U.S. government while they seek to expand overseas. Put bluntly, they don’t want to alienate potential customers.”

Schmidt’s move is surprising for another reason: The Defense Department has not exactly been a solid friend to Google and other tech companies — Edward Snowden’s leaked documents revealed that the National Security Agency had broken into the data streams of Google and other firms and helped itself to communications from millions of user accounts.

But with the Pentagon’s budget expected to top $500 billion for next year, no doubt there’s value for a tech company in building bridges with the Defense Department. As Recode reported Wednesday, “Google’s parent company, it should be noted, has several potential business ties to the defense industry, including its enterprise software and robotics units.”


Photo: Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)


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  • Don’t be evil? Is that a joke? Google is the most ruthless spy organization that ever existed, and it’s only natural that they (the immensely greedy and wealthy google) would gang up with the owners** of the Pentagon to make even more money.

    **Oh, and you thought the ‘public’ were the owners of the Pentagon. How incredibly naive is that?