A Twitter user yesterday suggested to Tesla CEO Elon Musk that his SpaceX pivot to work with the U.S. Department of Defense on the issue of intercontinental ballistics missiles from North Korea, and Musk had the following response:
We certainly could, but, while not suggesting complacency, I'm confident that the US DoD and intelligence orgs have this covered
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 14, 2017
The Twitter user’s question came in response to video of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch for its Dragon’s twelfth resupply mission.
Musk’s name has been popping up in defense conversations lately after his tweets about AI posing “vastly more risk” than North Korea.
If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea. pic.twitter.com/2z0tiid0lc
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
Aside from his warnings about AI and his tweet this morning about not working the Department of Defense, Musk and his companies have been sprinkled throughout various government agencies this year.
Just this morning, SpaceX and NASA announced they were deep into a process of data-gathering and sharing in an effort to certify flight-proven Falcon 9s for CRS missions in the future.
While the implication was that the sharing process is ongoing, NASA’s Dan Hartman suggested that a preliminary decision could be made before the end of September for SpaceX’s December 2017 launch of CRS-13, indicating that CRS-13 is a candidate for being the first NASA-sponsored reuse of a Falcon 9. Hartman repeatedly reiterated that NASA was currently expecting to fly CRS-13 on a new booster, but the undertone of the comments hinted that he was simply playing NASA’s cards close.
Aside from the cooperation between SpaceX and NASA, Musk himself held a prominent role in government until earlier this year as a member of President Donald Trump’s advisory council.
Musk made headlines when he announced he would be the first to leave Trump’s council if the president agreed to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. Trump did withdraw, and Musk stayed true to his word. Disney CEO Bob Iger swiftly exited the board as well.
Maybe one day Musk will change his mind and SpaceX will work with the Department of Defense, but even if not, that doesn’t mean the EV CEO and technological renaissance man will stop working with the government anytime soon.