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The Pentagon As Silicon Valley's Incubator 27

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-it-started dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Times has an article about how people coming out of the Pentagon are helping create a boom in technology start-ups. From the article: 'In the last year, former Department of Defense and intelligence agency operatives have headed to Silicon Valley to create technology start-ups specializing in tools aimed at thwarting online threats. Frequent reports of cyberattacks have expanded the demand for security tools, in both the public and private sectors, and venture capital money has followed. In 2012, more than $1 billion in venture financing poured into security start-ups, more than double the amount in 2010, according to the National Venture Capital Association.'"
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The Pentagon As Silicon Valley's Incubator

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  • World [cyber]war 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OffTheLip (636691) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:09AM (#44652907)
    The current/latest Pentagon buzzword and future money pit is cyber warfare. Whatever it takes to keep the money tap open.
    • In the last year, former Department of Defense and intelligence agency operatives have headed to Silicon Valley to create technology start-ups specializing in tools.

      "We shape our tools. And then our tools shape us."

    • Who modded this "troll?" It's absolutely true. Same old perverse relationship between the DoD and "defense" contractors, new technology.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday August 23, 2013 @08:21AM (#44652957) Homepage

    When I lived in the DC area, the first thing that struck me was how many people asked me if I had a clearance. It was all about having a clearance and working on government projects there. It was kind of sickening to me to realize that -- all these people trying to suck at the government teat. And my impression was that no one was interested in working hard, doing a good job or doing anything interesting at all. It was about having government work and making large amounts of money. (Lack of enthusiasm is one of many key problems with government wouldn't you agree?)

    And for government to be a driving factor in industry...? Any industry? It's also the sign of a problem... problems really. We know what we get when we mix military and industry -- a system that destroys people, property and nations for profit -- one where there can be no world peace because in order to sustain that business model, trouble must always be stirred up somewhere at all times. Do the words "invented threats" ring any bells or strike any chords?

    As if the US military industrial complex isn't enough of a problem for the world (because you know the US isn't supposed to have a standing army by law) we also have the spy industry to deal with... it has always been there, but spies historically keep a low profile. These days, not so much.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      >> It was kind of sickening to me to realize that -- all these people trying to suck at the government teat. And my impression was that no one was interested in working hard, doing a good job or doing anything interesting at all.

      Indeed... the entire massive infrastructure of the US IC and DOD was stood up by a bunch of lazy incompetent slobs. The ability to spy in 75% of all domestic internet traffic? Slackers did that.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can't speak regarding your experience in DC, but as a longtime worker here I'd say that YOUR findings are not the norm. In fact, the only folks who seem to take the easy way out tend to be those getting ready to retire.

      Sucking the Government teat? Hardly.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      The linked story is the opposite of your comment. It is about people leaving the world of government contracts behind, in the hopes of making bigger bucks at a startup. It is not about the Pentagon controlling Silicon Valley, it is about the brain drain that Silicon Valley is inflicting on the Pentagon. True, some of those companies' business is with the government, but certainly not all. (It would have been a better story with some information about that, such as what percentage of people at these comp
    • When I lived in the DC area, the first thing that struck me was how many people asked me if I had a clearance. It was all about having a clearance and working on government projects there. It was kind of sickening to me to realize that -- all these people trying to suck at the government teat. And my impression was that no one was interested in working hard, doing a good job or doing anything interesting at all. It was about having government work and making large amounts of money. (Lack of enthusiasm is one of many key problems with government wouldn't you agree?)

      Because that is where the money is. There are tons of government contractors (that produce no tangible goods for ANY OTHER CLIENT) looking for people who have a secret/top secret clearance..... no experience necessary in the position and are offering big bucks for it. They don't want to pay for the actual background check or take the chance that you won't get clearance. You and I are paying for this racket too. How do you think Snowden, with the background he had, landed up with that well paying job?

  • In similar news... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    former NSA agents are outperforming even the insider traders on the stock market. You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, right?

  • by The Mayor (6048) on Friday August 23, 2013 @09:02AM (#44653207)

    One needs only to look at the origins of In-Q-Tel, and its connection to Peter Thiel, to know that the defense department has been funding some of the biggest and best known companies for the past 2 decades. Google, PayPal, Facebook, and Palantir all come to mind, although there are many others.

    • Yes. Exactly. In Q Tel. Theil. Exactly. Add to that the profound change in research funding at Universities, and U get the picture.
  • Anyone care to bet that they are former agents? How about planting these folks in the computer industry to a degree that back doors and methods will exist to make it convenient for government to keep an eye on people? Your trusted encryption program may well have been written by the CIA or God knows who else. There is also a problem in that foreign powers just might put agents in American companies to accomplish exactly the same thing.

  • I worked in a few different industries before I stopped working for "the man" and started my own business. I mostly sell products and services back into the industries that I'm already familiar with, often to former employers. Why in god's name would I be foolish enough to enter a market in which I know absolutely nothing?

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