Sports Section Editor
It is no secret that the rivalry between the United States and China is ramping up. Trade battles, copyright conflict, and proxy tactics have defined the last decade of their interactions. Following the trend, a top U.S. official has made a shocking claim as he resigns his position and heads back to the private sector. Nicholas Chaillian, a French-born, former technology entrepreneur turned U.S. Government Executive is stepping down from his role as Chief Software Officer of the Air Force, a role he has held since May of 2018. In a bombastic resignation statement, a frustrated Chaillian claims that the U.S. has all but lost the battle to control Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Chaillian cites many issues with the Department of Defense’s (DoD) approach to AI advancement. He claims that the U.S. Military is too focused on developing traditional wartime assets such as drones and fighter jets instead of investing in future strategies like cyber and AI technologies. He describes the current state of some DoD’s cyber defense is currently at a “kindergarten level”. The slow rate of governmental agencies, lack of basic IT skills of mid-level employees, and continuous ethical debates over AI technology were all brought up by the former CSO as contributing factors. Chaillian clarified later on LinkedIn that he does not mean that time has completely run out for the Americans. However, he did emphasize that major changes in the way these agencies are run must happen in the next few months for there to be any chance of the U.S. to keep up with their Eastern rivals.
Some claim this is just a disgruntled employee overreacting to work time frustrations. After all, a fair-minded claim for one man’s opinion does not necessarily dictate the true reality of the situation. But it should be noted that Chaillian is an expert and known as a prodigy in this field. He began his first company, WorldAKT, at age 15 and has since founded 12 companies and sold over 180 technology products in his career in the private sector. He also held office in the Department of Homeland Security and was a Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense before this current role with the Air Force. He also was the first-ever Chief Software Officer in the Pentagon, lending some merit to the lack of progress in the U.S. government.
Whether Chaillian’s warnings come to fruition remains to be seen. However, one thing is almost certain, China will not stop developing technologies. And, no matter how one looks at it, the driving away of a cybersecurity guru is not a good indicator for success as competition to this push.
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