Steve October 13, 2021
ex-air-force-tech-boss-eviscerates-pentagon-for-already-losing-the-ai-race-against-china

Source: The Drive

Nicolas Chaillan, who served as the first Air Force Chief Software Officer, has slammed the Pentagon for its failure to keep pace with its rival China, after stepping down from his post last month, in what was, at least in part, a protest against the conditions that led to this perceived outcome. Of the various complaints leveled at the U.S. military’s approach to modernization, Chaillan highlights what he sees as a lost battle between the United States and China in the field of cyber capabilities, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, or AI.

In an interview given to the Financial Times, Chaillan details some of the reasons behind his departure and the failings that he thinks have left China in pole position in terms of these kinds of high-end military technologies. Chaillan had previously announced his resignation from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of the Air Force via an open letter posted on his LinkedIn profile on September 2, which warned that the Pentagon was systemically “setting up critical infrastructure to fail” on a grand level while also criticizing the lack of support he’d received from leadership even on basic IT matters.

“We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years,” Chaillan told the FT. “Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion.” This echoes Chaillan’s sentiments in his LinkedIn letter, in which he identified China’s “drastic advantage of population over the U.S.” and its “booming, hardworking population” that left the United States with no chance of competing unless it became “smarter, more efficient, and forward-leaning through agility, rapid prototyping and innovation.”

A former technology entrepreneur, software developer, cyber expert, and inventor, Chaillan was appointed to his Air Force position under Dr. William Roper, the former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Roper himself left the service earlier this year, leaving a legacy of cutting-edge programs and disruptive concepts in his wake. While in his Air Force job, Chaillan was the service’s senior software czar, tasked with “analyzing current software and cloud migration plans to avoid vendor lock-ins while allowing for rapid prototyping and a streamlined process for deployment,” as well as looking for “new commercially available off-the-shelf software and cloud-related technologies to help with their adoption across various Air Force programs.”

Read more: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/42733/ex-air-force-software-chief-eviscerates-pentagon-for-already-having-lost-the-ai-race-against-china

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