Microsoft, it was announced Wednesday, has won a contract with the U.S. Army to develop and provide over 120,000 devices augmented-reality headsets, which the Army says will allow soldiers to fight, rehearse, and train using a single platform.
An Army press release on Wednesday suggested that the headsets would provide night-vision, thermal vision, and other sensors “integrated into a unified Heads Up Display.”
“The system also leverages augmented reality and machine learning to enable a life-like mixed reality training environment so the CCF [Close Combat Force] can rehearse before engaging any adversaries,” the press release read.
In a statement to CNBC, a Microsoft spokesperson indicated that the deal could be worth up to $21.88 billion over 10 years.
This Microsoft-Army deal comes after a $480 million contract Microsoft was awarded in 2018 to provide the Army prototypes of Integrated Visual Augmented System (IVAS)—production versions of which the technology company will provide in accordance with the new deal.
“The IVAS headset, based on HoloLens and augmented by Microsoft Azure cloud services, delivers a platform that will keep soldiers safer and make them more effective,” Alex Kipman, a technical fellow at Microsoft and the person who introduced the HoloLens in 2015, penned in a Wednesday blog post. “The program delivers enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios.”
That 2018 deal, however, was not without its controversy. In response to Microsoft receiving that contract, several dozen of its employees signed a letter in protest, condemning the company for providing its technology for “warfare and oppression.”
“We are a global coalition of Microsoft workers and we refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression,” their letter stated. “We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the U.S. military, helping one country’s government ‘increase lethality’ using tools we built.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Biden’s Email Controversy Deepens: A Saga of Aliases, Whistleblowers, and Shadowy Communications
In a bombshell revelation, new records released by the House Ways & Means Committee expose a labyrinth of email aliases and private addresses used by then-Vice President Joe Biden to communicate with his son Hunter and key business associates, according to metadata obtained from IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler.
Furthermore, according to reports from Fox News, the data, covering the span of nine years from 2010 to 2019, reveals an astonishing 327 exchanges between Biden and his son, notably during Biden’s tenure as vice president.
The majority of these clandestine communications were exclusively with Eric Schwerin, a pivotal figure described as “the architect of the Biden family’s shell companies.” The emails were conducted using aliases such as “robinware456,” “JRBware,” and “RobertLPeters.” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer had previously hinted at the existence of Biden’s email aliases earlier this year.
According to reports, the whistleblowers, still actively employed as IRS investigators, ran a search for Biden’s email aliases in their existing files, revealing the 327 exchanges with Hunter Biden and Schwerin. The metadata access, however, falls short of scrutinizing email content, requiring a search warrant for deeper investigation.
Schwerin, former president of Hunter’s Rosemont Seneca Advisors, has found himself under the spotlight. In a March 2023 meeting with the House Oversight Committee, Schwerin claimed he was unaware of any transactions related to Biden family business in the then-Vice President’s bank account.
This assertion aligns with the White House narrative, pushing back against Republican scrutiny and an impeachment inquiry.
Amidst the rising scrutiny, House Oversight Committee Chairman Comer has subpoenaed Schwerin for a deposition on Nov. 9, indicating a deepening probe into the financial intricacies of the Biden family.
The data also reveals a spike in emails between Biden and Schwerin during the vice president’s travels to Ukraine, a period significantly coinciding with Hunter Biden’s board membership at Burisma Holdings.
The information underscores the increased communication between the two during crucial junctures, raising questions about the nature of their discussions and the potential intersection of official government business with family interests.
Ways & Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, spearheading the impeachment inquiry against President Biden, asserts that the evidence points to Joe Biden’s use of private email accounts with aliases while conducting official duties on international trips.
The broader investigation by Smith, alongside House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and House Oversight Committee Chairman Comer, delves into foreign money received by the Biden family and whether President Biden was involved in their foreign business dealings.
As the House intensifies its scrutiny, Hunter Biden’s scheduled deposition on Dec. 13 promises further revelations, with House Republicans pledging transparency by releasing the transcript and advocating for a public hearing. The saga of Biden’s emails unfolds against a backdrop of denial from the White House and Justice Department officials, creating a complex narrative.
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