Pentagon Software Chief Resigns Saying the US has Lost to China in Cyber Warfare, AI

Ex-Pentagon software chief, who recently resigned, said China is headed for global dominance due to advances in AI, ML, and cyber capabilities. In an interview with the Financial Times last week, he said that his resignation was in protest against the slow pace of technological transformation in the U.S. military.

Nicolas Chaillan, 37, was appointed as the Pentagon's first ever chief software officer. He wrote in a LinkedIn post last month that he was stepping down after three years in the position.

Nicolas Chaillan
Nicolas Chaillan Twitter

Chaillan Says China has Already Won the AI Battle

He told the FT after resigning, "We have no competing fighting chance against China in fifteen to twenty years."

"Right now, it's already a done deal – it is already over in my opinion," he added. "Whether it takes a war or not is kind of anecdotal."

Chaillan went on to say that the AI capabilities and cyber defenses of some government departments were at "kindergarten level," the FT said.

He said in his interview that China has won over the U.S. and is on track towards global dominance due to its technological advances. He said Beijing will dominate the future of the world by controlling everything from media narratives to geopolitics.

Reluctance of Goggle to work with the US Defense Department on AI

Chaillan targeted Goggle for not working on AI with the U.S. Defense Department. Chinese companies, on the other hand, are obliged to work with Beijing, and were making "massive investment" into AI without regard to ethics, he said to the FT.

Lack of Experience Among Military Officials

Chaillan announced his resignation at the beginning of September, saying military officials were repeatedly put in charge of cyber initiatives for which they lacked experience, reported the Daily Mail.

In his resignation announcement he wrote, "Please stop putting a Major or Lt Col. (despite their devotion, exceptional attitude, and culture) in charge of ICAM, Zero Trust or Cloud for 1 to 4 million users when they have no previous experience in that field – we are setting up critical infrastructure to fail. We would not put a pilot in the cockpit without extensive flight training; why would we expect someone with no IT experience to be close to successful? They do not know what to execute on or what to prioritize which leads to endless risk reduction efforts and diluted focus."

US China flag
US China flags Reuters

China's Aggression

Chaillan's remarks come as China threatened Taiwan with military action as it plans to "reunify" with the island. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen hit out at China asserting that it won't bow to the Communist nation even as President Xi Jinping declared "peaceful reunification" with Taiwan was possible.

Jinping warned that China has "staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty" while referring to Taiwan.