Thoughts on the CIA as a sponsor for Champs?

From the FIRST blog post titled “FIRST® Announces BAE Systems, Inc. as Presenting Sponsor for 2023 FIRST Championship Event in Houston”, posted today:

The 2023 FIRST Championship is presented by BAE Systems. Co-Sponsors include: Bechtel Group Foundation, Central Intelligence Agency, DoD STEM, Ford Motor Company, The Gene Haas Foundation, Google, Mouser Electronics, Rockwell Automation, Inc., United Therapeutics Corporation, The Walt Disney Imagineering, and Zebra Technologies.

Don’t feel too great about the CIA (and the DoD to that end) sponsoring Champs. I can kind of get (even if I don’t like it) why the Space Force sponsors as we saw during kickoff, but the CIA? Definitely puts me on edge. Thoughts?


I think my next mock FRC game is gonna be called Party in the CIA.


Personally, I am Mk Ultra excited for it!


Why do these battery spill kits they gave us smell weird? We’re supposed to sell them?


Why is that worse that Google? I bet Google does more spying on you than the CIA does…


The various parts of our government look for talented young people the same as any other employer. It’s perfectly OK for you not to want to work for them or speak with them. I’m guessing every corporate sponsor probably has parts of their history that are troubling to some (perhaps you as well). I expect we all have a line where an entity is so far over the line that we would not accept their money (eg the KKK). And it’s OK that we all don’t agree on exactly where that line might be. If you have strong opinions that FIRST has made a choice over where you think the line should be, by all means let them know.


I’m personally going to avoid the “complimentary” drinks at their booth.


Coming in 2024 the new game Coup Clash sponsored by the CIA. Earn points for your alliance by overthrowing democratically elected South American leaders. Score bonus points by trafficking and selling drugs to vulnerable minorities.


Thank you Mr L Ron Hoyabembe

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Glad I could contribute

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Honestly, their participation is a phenomenal mentoring opportunity to talk to students about how they allow their work to be used, and how they establish and maintain those lines.

In my experience: the world is frequently more grey than a high school student perceives, and this is an excellent opportunity to begin to explore that.


Hey, they gotta do something with all that crack money.


But hear me out… Free spy cameras, audio bugs and combat robots in the kickoff kit. Imagine if a CIA surveillance team was in charge of the GameDay live streams. We’d have every possible coverage angle nailed!

In all seriousness robotics has been on their radar since at least 2015. Surprised it took this long for them to realize they should start seeing what’s out there and being made by the incoming class of possible recruits.

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THe CIA is an important part of the national security of the United States and they do a lot of high-tech work. They seem like a good fit. Not like they’re spying on teams.


seems more likely that they’d spend most of the time redacting videos or parts of the streams so we’d have to infer what was happening.


This already happens on VOD anyways, what’s new


Partnership with the CIA might allow us to see robot reveal videos 2 hours early. Ooooo


Also perfectly OK (but I’m assuming not relevant to the OP).

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They are just waiting for someone to crack the game manual encryption so they can recruit them


They already have the manual for 2025… It’s a drone game. My fillings pick up the CIA radio transmissions I swear…


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