Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella justified the company's $479 million contract with the Pentagon, telling CNN "we're not going to withhold technology from institutions that we have elected in democracies to protect the freedoms we enjoy," CNN reports.
"We were very transparent about that decision, and we'll continue to have that dialogue [with employees]," he added.
The statement comes after a group of more than 50 Microsoft employees have signed on to a letter protesting the contract.
"We are a global coalition of Microsoft workers and we refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression," employees said in a letter sent out Friday. "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."
"We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used," the workers wrote.
Microsoft is planning to equip the U.S. military with up to 100,000 augmented reality headsets that will be used to "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy," according to a Department of Defense (DOD) description of the augmented reality program.