AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Visits Amazon

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Seattle as part of a West Coast swing aimed at strengthening ties between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the tech community. During his visit, he met with Amazon leaders and spoke with many of our Amazon Military Exchange students, including our Department of Defense Fellow assigned to work with AWS.

While at Amazon headquarters, Secretary Carter sat down with Amazon Founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, and AWS leadership including Andy Jassy, Charlie Bell, Adam Selipsky, Bob Kimball, Bill Vass, and Teresa Carlson to discuss innovation topics and ways to strengthen military exchange programs and partnerships with the technology industry.

“If we’re going to have the best military in the world, as we must have, 10, 20 years, 30 years from now, we need to strengthen our partnership with companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing and many others that I’ve met out here.  I’m determined to do that.  It’s part of the responsibility of the department, not only to fight today’s fight but to make sure that we’re superior for tomorrow’s.  And the most important ingredient is our wonderful people, but secondly, it’s technology,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said following his visit to the Amazon Headquarters in Seattle.

Commercial cloud services and other emerging technologies can enable the DoD to achieve its mission, innovate faster, improve agility, and enhance the Department’s security posture, while also cutting costs.  In addition to cloud computing, business practices can be shared from industry to military, because talking to others about how they run their business forces us to hold up a mirror to ourselves, which is a very healthy thing for any organization.

One way we are doing this is through the Amazon Military Exchange program and DoD Fellowship designed to expose active duty military to AWS’s technology and Amazon’s leadership principles. Currently, we have three military exchange students and one DoD fellow working at Amazon and AWS. We are able to work alongside our military fellows to learn from them how we can better help the different branches of the military save money, innovate faster, and deliver capabilities that help achieve their mission. Meet some of these military professionals and learn more about this program in our blog series here, here, and here.

We are dedicated to contributing to the military’s mission and the enterprise and appreciate the Defense Secretary’s visit to Amazon. See below for the pictures from his visit to Amazon HQ.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center, tours Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, March 3, 2016. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee

Lt. Col. Maria Schneider, one of the DoD Fellows, meeting and greeting the Secretary of Defense during his visit with the Amazon leadership team.