WASHINGTON — For the second time in a week, the Pentagon’s top uniformed officer has taken a shot at Google, warning that the tech company’s investments in China are doing long-term damage to America’s security.
But Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he also plans to meet with the tech giant to “debate” about its roles and responsibilities as a commercial enterprise versus how much the firm owes to America as its home nation.
“In my judgment, us assisting the Chinese military in advancing technologically is not in U.S. national interests, so it’s a debate we have to have,” Dunford said at a Thursday event hosted by the Atlantic Council.
His comments followed up on statements made in a Senate hearing last week, where he said Google was “indirectly benefiting the Chinese military” by its operations in the communist nation. Asked to follow up on those conversations Thursday, the chairman expressed the belief that no company can do work in China without it being siphoned off.
“Typically if a company does business in China, they are automatically going to be required to have a cell of the Communist Party in that company,” he said. “And that is going to lead to that intellectual property from that company finding its way to the Chinese military. It is a distinction without a difference between the Chinese Communist Party, the government and the Chinese military.”
“Ventures to help develop artificial intelligence in China are going to do two things. They are going to help an authoritarian government to assert control [over] its own population. Again, our country exists for the individual. China exists for the Chinese communist party,” he continued.