Cris Weisbecker, Education Services Officer at the Wiesbaden Education Center, gives a presentation to U.S. Army Signal Soldiers about higher education opportunities and Army services during the 102nd Strategic Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, quarterly Soldier Development Program Jan. 18, 2018 in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Soldier Development Program provides Soldiers with information on a wide variety of personal and professional topics, including higher education, designed to grow junior Soldiers into future leaders. (U.S. Army photo by William B. King) (Photo Credit: William King)
In a recent open letter to Microsoft President Brad Smith and CEO Satya Nadella, a group of Microsoft workers demanded that Microsoft cancel its $479 million contract with the United States Army. Established last year, this contract committed Microsoft to supply technology for the Army's Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), leveraging its HoloLens augmented reality technology to design headsets for use in combat and training. The letter is the workers' refutation of creating technology for "warfare and oppression," arguing that the contract is Microsoft's foray into weapons development.
Rather than provide insight or commentary on the ethics of corporate cooperation with government, the letter lays bear the signatories' ignorance of warfare and combat trauma.
It is virtue signaling masquerading as thought leadership.
Like many transitioning service members, Jason Russell struggled with translating his valuable Army experience and knowledge as a helicopter mechanic for a special operations unit to the civilian workforce. Microsoft, with its commitment to veterans, provided him with the technical skills and direction he needed to pursue a successful career in the technology industry.
On May 5, the Joining Forces initiative — a nationwide effort calling on all Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families — announced that 40 companies have pledged to hire more than 110,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years.