The bay area should fight its stigma against military work

Political debate at work was not encouraged when I was training to be a doctor at the LAC+USC Medical Center in the early 2000s.

On the 13th-floor jail ward, we had a professional duty to care for drunk drivers and thieves just like any other patient and leave any opinions about criminal justice policy for their appropriate venues.

Medicine is not unique in this respect — we’re all better off when lawyers, soldiers and other public service providers place their duty to society over individual opinions.

Technology companies often aspire to fill similarly critical roles in society, but few have internalized the separation between professional duty and personal opinion. I have seen this firsthand as the founder of a tech company that serves a wide range of organizations, including amateur to collegiate and professional sports, occupational health and a growing roster of military commands.

Many founders fail to explore DOD opportunities because they do not want to be seen as engaging in the business of war.

During the last presidential administration, a handful of colleagues questioned whether serving the military was consistent with our mission of helping the world move better. Over the past few years, this stigma toward military work has roiled some of the largest companies in Silicon Valley, sometimes leading to contract cancelations, non-renewal pledges and a noticeable chilling effect toward work involving the United States military.

Partnerships between technology companies and the military are nothing new, but rarely have they attracted as much controversy as they do today. These partnerships were the norm throughout the 20th century, yielding war-winning technologies — like microwave radar, GPS and ARPANET — that pulled double-duty in peacetime as the building blocks of our modern connected world.

Military contracts have been traditionally viewed in Silicon Valley as a win-win — for the nation’s military superiority and for a company’s bottom line. Moonshot projects backed by the federal government’s financial resources also represented some of the most interesting workarounds for product-minded technologists.

That relationship has been knocked off its bearings over the past several years, with employees at Microsoft, Google and Amazon, among other companies, seeking to distance themselves from all federal projects due to the revulsion of the previous administration’s policies. But with new leadership in Washington, companies and tech workers need to determine if the stigma against military work will become permanently ingrained or limited to one chapter in an evolving relationship.

Before looking forward, one common misconception is worth correcting from the previous administration about the tension between employees and the military. Recent research challenges the notion that anti-military views are universal among the tech workforce.

In a < hacia href=""> survey conducted between late 2019 and early 2020, Georgetown University’s Center for Precaution and Emerging Technology included that less than a quarter pertaining to AI professionals view Government work in a negative light, plus 78% consider it a positive nicely neutral.

Insurance companies that are open to pursuing ways with the Department of Defend should consider several advantages as differences between commercial in addition government clients.

Federal contracts are generally distinguished by large dollar charges, low profit margins and long periods of performance. This can please VC-backed companies that are greatly regarded based on revenue, and the individual structure of government contracts presents the public a welcome complement into your lucrative but highly labile work in B2B and B2C markets. Blending the two two opposites produces a stronger whole, always unlike mutual funds who balance stocks and bond.

Many proprietors fail to explore DOD assets because they do not want to be seen as engaging in the business of an immense. We encountered a version about the at Sparta Science by means of colleagues who conflated much of our work to support federal providers with a full endorsement of multiple government policy.

Reality is more nuanced. The exact DOD has an annual wallet of more than half a trillion profits and a workforce of 2. almost eight million. Only a portion of them are directly engaged in warfighting, and they rely on great numbers of administrators and knowledge business owners to accomplish each mission.

The DOD is complete with approximately 1 . 3 people of active contracts at any delivered moment, spanning fields as diverse as healthcare, fashion accessories, logistics and software licensing. The military is correctly described as a cross-section of the United States, and supporting those who offer is a Silicon Valley tradition, good business practice and the right thing to do.

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