Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford confirmed that Google’s work in China is directly benefitting the Chinese military when responding to a line of questioning from Senator Hawley during today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. A video of the exchange and transcript are below:
HAWLEY: So I just want to make sure that I understand exactly what you’re saying. You’re telling me that Google, an American company, supposedly, is refusing to work with the Department of Defense, but is doing work with China, in China, in a way that at least indirectly benefits the Chinese government. Is that correct?
SHANAHAN: I haven’t heard the word refuse, but there’s a lack of willingness to support DOD programs.
HAWLEY: General you’re nodding your head do you want to weigh in on this?
DUNFORD: You know Senator I’m nodding my head on exactly the point that you made that the work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefitting the Chinese military. And I’ve been very public on this issue as well in fact the way I described it to our industry partners is ‘look we’re the good guys in the values that we represent and the system that we represent is the one that will allow and has allowed you to thrive’ and that’s the way I’ve characterized it. I was just nodding that what the Secretary was articulating is the general sense of all of us as leaders. We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing there is that indirect benefit, and frankly ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is. It’s more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.
HAWLEY: I just want to underscore this for the record so that we are absolutely, perfectly, 100 percent clear here that Google, an American company based in this country, again supposedly an American company, is doing work in China that directly or indirectly benefits the Chinese government at a time of increased peer competition with this country. We are in a struggle with the Chinese government over whether or not they are going to become a regional and maybe global hegemon with values very different from ours, certainly values that do not favor freedom in the world. And we have an American company that does not want to do work with our defense department, which is one thing, but they’re happy to help the Chinese, at least the Chinese government that is, the Chinese military at least indirectly. I think that’s just extraordinary.