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TechBro Military

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Great, what could go wrong with our TechBro betters DISRUPTING the military through gig work?

The Defense Innovation Unit, an organization within the Department of Defense focused on adopting commercial technology, is building an Uber-like app called “Gig Eagle” to match part-time service members possessing private sector experience with program managers. 

“We are creating a gig economy for the Department of Defense,” Sarah Pearson, a DIU executive, said during an AI Week SNG Live panel, FedScoop reported. “You could think about it almost like an Uber but for the DoD.”

In December, the Defense Innovation Unit received an additional $20 million from Congress to expand its research and development budget for space programs. $3 million went to Gig Eagle, the Uber-like app that was pitched as a “talent management pilot application.”

DIU told Motherboard in an email that the program is in its early phases of development, so it’s unclear what the program will end up looking like. One immediate concern that arises, however, is the fact that the DoD is eagerly invoking the gig economy, which itself is an amalgamation of labor law loopholes and exploits. Whether that means service members will be subject to hellish working conditions, meager pay, a lack of benefits, and little to nothing in the way of fair labor practices remains to be seen. However, the program appears to generally be a way for military programs to quickly and easily find personnel (for example a reservist who works a day job as a programmer) who can use their skills where and when they’re needed. 

Maaike Verbruggen, a doctoral researcher at the International Security Center where she focuses on military technologies and innovation, told Motherboard there’s a real need driving the development of this app.

“First, the DoD is really lacking in technical talent. The way career trajectories are structured don’t really reward or value technical skills, so the technical talent it does have, is not necessarily used to its full potential. This is seen as one of the biggest obstacles for military innovation,” Verbruggen told Motherboard. “But a second and more abstract reason is the general fetishization of Silicon Valley innovation culture at the DoD.”

Ah yes, our national technology fetish. There’s nothing like letting a bunch of Zuckerberg and Thiel types have at our military. I for one can’t think of one down side to what they have done to our society as a whole…….

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