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Google Government The Military News Politics Technology

Eric Schmidt Gets A Job At The Pentagon ( 71

An anonymous reader writes: Alphabet Chairman and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is heading up a new effort to make the Pentagon more tech savvy. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carton on Wednesday appointed Schmidt the head of a new Defense Innovation Advisory Board, which will help the Pentagon keep up with the latest Silicon Valley ideas and apply them at the Department of Defense. The board will address problems in the way the Pentagon uses technology, and it will be tasked with offering "quick solutions." Schmidt's group will have no access to information about military operations strategy. Schmidt will oversee a group of up to 11 other board members, who also have led large private companies and public organizations.
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Eric Schmidt Gets A Job At The Pentagon

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  • WOW... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2016 @06:53PM (#51650099)

    What a surprise.

    • Re:WOW... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @06:04AM (#51652065) Journal

      I'd love to see them reimplement all the Pentagon's stuff google style.

      They could roll out the nuclear counteroffensive system like gmail where it's just continually developed. So one day it would come out as a completely flat interface where it's hard to tell the difference between messge notifications and the "launch nukes" button since they're just blank areas of the screen.

      "Hi, we've updated your strategic launching system. [got it!]"

      Naturally every day things will move round subtly and some features will break, come back, break again and come back. Soon they'll run some A/B testing and find that no one ever clicks on the "launch nukes" button (not really a button any more, some strange flat menubutton dropdown hybrid, but white on white either way), so it will be quietly retired. Maybe one or two generals will complain, but they're a small fraction of the users of the system, and google targets the common case. Besides, if they haven't needed to launch nukes in the last year, it's not like it'll ever be needed.

      But anyway, it's not like any of it would work anyhow. Google have recently taken the flag from Microsoft and decided that clearly they need to keep their web "apps" up to date so they chew up every available bit of CPU on the latest machines. What intel giveth, google taketh away etc... I actually wound up on the "basic" gmail interface due to a slow connection recently. Remember that part: slow connection. HOLY FUCK IT IS FAST! Apparently the basic interface on a slow connection is much, much snappier than the main gmail interface.

      Anyway how does this matter? Well, they make stuff slower waaaayy faster than the pentagon upgrade cycle for machines. Unlike the MS of the elder days, you don't have a choice to not upgrade this decade since it's all pushed out on every page load. So you can't have some ancient 386 running Win3.11 for work groups controlling the launches. It'll have to be the latest, well I'd say PC but it'd probably wind up and a chromebook or android device.

      They are of course EOL'd every 6 days (a bit less than the DoD's upgrade cycle of 6 decades) so after not very long, none of the computers could run any of the launcher apps anyway. So it's kind of moot if the remove the "global thermonuclear war" button/flat invisible area because even if it was there, no one would have a computer which would be able to operate it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Given his arrogance and his distaste for privacy he'll fit right in
  • From Don't Be Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @06:58PM (#51650131) defense contractor making autonomous killing machines.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you don't like the thought of that, maybe you're doing something you shouldn't be.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Yes, remember: Free thought and criticizing the government should be avoided at all costs. You're a criminal and you get what you deserve if you don't follow the party line!
      • Or thinking something you should not think

    • Attack tweet technology is the only humane way to exterminate a foe.

    • defense contractor making autonomous killing machines.

      Am I missing something? Neither the summary nor TFA mentions anything about drones or him being a contractor. He has been appointed to an advisory committee. Or are you implying that the DoD has no use for computers that don't control drones?

  • Live and learn.

    • It's probably neither. Schmidt was an Obama supporter and even though largely unsubstantiated, claims of Google manipulating search results to favor Obama was made during both his elections. Google itself might not be represented by this. It could just be a reward for support that will allow him to steer technology he can profit from.

      • Google doesn't necessarily have to be complicit in manipulated search results though. The entire SEO industry exists to manipulate Google search results, after all. And to this day, if you google "Santorum" you mostly get a frothy mixture.

      • Everything is always a conspiracy around here.
        Or maybe the DoD identified a gap in their technology strategy and decided to do something about it? It's hardly like Schmidt is the wrong guy for this type of role is it>
        Of are the govt really lizards who want to eat your babies?
        • What is the conspiracy? It is pretty much known as fact that politicians reward donors and supporters. Hell, we have embassies in places most people would like to vacation at which are staffed largely this way. Ever hear of some embassitor to some country that you have to not only find a map but make sure it is a certain revision to find the country? Those are political rewards.

          My point wasn't one of some big conspiracy but that this might not reflect Google at all.

  • I skimmed and read Defense Ashton Carton [sic]

    as Defense Action Carton and thought "dumb name for a movie/game/wargame-scenario title - error parsing summary - restart reading summary only this time do it slower."

    Anyone else misread these 3 words?

    It didn't help that, thanks to my device settings, those 3 words were the first 3 words on their line.

  • He is a former president of Sun Microsystems. So imagine if he went around to see DoD desk employees and saw them working on those ancient Sun workstations: wonder how he'd react?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I have one of those ancient Sun workstations, a Sun Blade 100, and they are perfectly fine machines for the sort of work most DoD desk employees are doing: reading and writing policy documents, sitreps, and other mundane word processing tasks.

      They probably have better infosec than any computer you can buy today with modern insecure OS, and Tempest vulnerable hardware.

      This is mental work with words and associations, it's mostly not high end graphics, I don't see many ways a new computer could be better than

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        One of the many reasons that I refuse to work for the government. I had to sit in front of a Sun workstation for years as my desktop computer. It's amazing that I didn't stab my own eyes out after about six months of it. It's enough to make you want to leave tech and become a farmer.

        Don't get me wrong, you can theoretically put a decent desktop on top of a UNIX-like, but CDE was not an example of that.

        I don't think I was ever so happy to see a Windows box as I was the day that I was given one at that job

        • by armanox ( 826486 )

          Well, if they are still running Solaris - of which versions 9 - 11 are still supported by Oracle, there is a fair chance they have GNOME installed on them in addition to CDE (Solaris 10 defaults to GNOME, Solaris 11 drops CDE all together).

          • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

            That would have been nice. I got out when they were still running Solaris 8. Which dates me pretty well at that job.

            I didn't mind Solaris too much as a server, it had its little annoyances, but had some good things too. I just didn't want to have to see it as anything other than a command prompt on my desktop which would not be a Sun workstation.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Schmidt just removed the "Don't"

  • "Alphabet Chairman and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is heading up a new effort to make the Pentagon more tech savvy"

    Eric Schmidt could make a good start by totally banning Microsoft Windows from the Pentagon.
    • I'm sure it says 'tech savvy', and not 'religous'...
  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Sunday March 06, 2016 @08:44PM (#51650571)
    Speaking as someone in a vague and unspecified location on the "inside,"


    One pointy-haired boss leading a panel of eleven other pointy haired bosses with no situation awareness or operational insights is going to fix the problem of a culture of technical incompetence, blind box-checking and bureaucracy for every bit of minutia how exactly?
    • If there is one thing a government does well, it is try to solve problems of too much bureaucracy with more bureaucracy.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If there is one thing a government does well, it is try to solve problems of too much bureaucracy with more bureaucracy.

        We really need a mod of "Funny and Scary". Tim S.

    • As someone who spent many years long ago on the "inside"...I would like to second your "hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha". Special interest groups and useless defense contracting companies are far too ingrained in the DoD gravy train to do things in a tech saavy way.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    DOD invented what became Google so except for the billions to private people, they were always joined at the hip. I just hope he's not a dual-citizen.

  • Google (tm) has been appointed Elders of the Internet for honor and (fiduciary) duty.
  • How are we going to fix our tech program?

    Maybe we can google that.

  • Like the Dow Jones, the face of the military-industrial complex needs to change with the times. Eisenhower would be proud.
  • ...whether I should be glad that the DoD has realized that they need to hire some smart people to explain to them how "this networking thing" works, or deeply disappointed (for the same reason), or sadly unsurprised that the DoD has created a shiny new type of pork to waste taxpayer dollars on.

"The algorithm to do that is extremely nasty. You might want to mug someone with it." -- M. Devine, Computer Science 340