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

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump says if Biden's elected, "he'll listen to the scientists"Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  6. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  7. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Microphones will be muted during parts of Thursday's presidential debate

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates adopted new measures on Monday to mute the microphones of President Trump and Joe Biden to allow each candidate two minutes of uninterrupted time per segment during Thursday night's debate.

Why it matters: During September's chaotic debate, Trump interrupted Biden 71 times, while Biden interrupted Trump 22 times.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court denies Pennsylvania GOP request to limit mail-in voting

Protesters outside Supreme Court. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania's Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. Thanks to the court's 4-4 deadlock, ballots can be counted for several days after Election Day.

Why it matters: It's a major win for Democrats that could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. The court's decision may signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.