Amazon made news not long ago by committing itself to hiring 25,000 military veterans and spouses by 2021. Now a top executive at the global tech firm has doubled down on that promise.
Teresa Carlson, vice president for Amazon Web Services, announced June 20 at the annual AWS Public Sector Summit that Amazon is "well on its way" to reaching that goal and has "trained 10,000 veterans and their spouses in cloud computing.”
Carlson also pledged to expand the company's new technical apprentice program for veterans, which partners with local colleges to provide a specialized education to prepare veterans for technical careers. Following an inaugural year of 60 participants in 2017, the program added 300 new students this year.
CIA and Defense Department representatives both spoke after Carlson during the same keynote session, appearing before the AWS Summit as vocal proponents of cloud computing and artificial intelligence. Carlson framed the training of veterans in these new technologies as providing the government with crucial know-how.
The globe-trotting businesswoman noted that the U.S. is not alone in bringing cloud functions to government. Chile, Argentina, Singapore and Bahrain are strongly interested in AWS-type technology for their respective governments, but have complained that "their No. 1 barrier" is a lack of a "cloud-enabled workforce," Carlson said.
Cloud computing and related advancements offer enormous potential in defense. The increased speed and power of such data handling improves satellite-image processing to weapons systems interoperability to spacecraft development timelines.
Amazon runs the AWS GovCloud West, a cloud service for classified government developments throughout the western United States. Now it is unveiling GovCloud East, allowing for complete nationwide cloud availability for Defense Department programming and data storage.
The Pentagon has expressed interest in cloud technology before, both for internal use as well as potentially coordination with troops anywhere using real-time data.
"At the end of the day," Carlson told summit attendees, "cloud computing is key to moving fast."
Andrew is a student in the class of 2020 at the University of Notre Dame.