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Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Smith/Gado/Getty

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is unhappy with the readiness of Big Tech to produce products for China while many company employees insist on not working with the U.S. military.

Details: Dunford, speaking in Halifax on Saturday, said that the American military needs the help of Big Tech companies to master artificial intelligence, which he said will lead to a battlefield advantage. But his remarks suggested that he continues to find resistance in Silicon Valley in helping the military get there.

"This is not about doing something that's unethical, illegal or immoral. This is about ensuring that we collectively can defend the values for which we stand."
— Gen. Joseph Dunford

The big picture: In June, Google pulled back from a Pentagon program called Project Maven after a massive protest by its employees, but it said it will not rule out future work with the military. Google has meanwhile defended plans to produce a censored search engine for the Chinese market.

  • In October, Microsoft employees wrote a letter opposing company plans to bid on military projects. But Microsoft — and separately Amazon and Oracle — said they would continue to work with the Pentagon.

The bottom line: Notwithstanding the company statements, Dunford's remarks suggest that he is not seeing the action he'd like.

  • "I have a hard time with companies that are working very hard to engage in the market inside China ... then don't want to work with the U.S. military," he said. "I just have a simple expression: 'We are the good guys.'"

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.