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This is the question that comes from the first Software Chief of the Pentagon, Nicolas Chaillan, who recently resigned and quit from his job position. His reason for leaving? He believes that China has already won any future conflict, and he is tired of trying to convince leaders in the military and government of how he thinks this problem should be handled.
He went on to tell the Times that our cybersecurity systems were at “kindergarten level” and that our Ai production here in the United States was inferior due to being lost within our own desire to debate ethics instead of focusing on making the best possible technology over our adversaries.
Chaillan stated in his resignation letter, shared on Linkedin, “While we wasted time in bureaucracy, our adversaries moved further ahead.”
The letter continued, saying, “I realize more clearly than ever before that, in 20 years from now, our children, both in the United States and our allies, will have no chance competing in a world where China has the drastic advantage of the population over the US. If the US can’t match the booming, hard working population in China, then we have to win by being smarter, more efficient, and forward leaning through agility, rapid prototyping and innovation. We have to be ahead and lead. We can’t afford to be behind.”
When addressing why he was leaving the Pentagon, Chaillan said, “It seems clear to me that our leaders are not aligned with our vision in pursuing agility, the importance of DevSecOps, continuous delivery of capabilities, nor, most importantly, the need to fund teams, like Cloud One and Platform One, that are making things happen for the Department, and is a catalyst for change across the government. In fact, they have repeatedly refused to mandate DevSecOps, not even for new starts in custom software development.
There is absolutely no valid reason not to use and mandate DevSecOps in 2021 for custom software. It is borderline criminal not to do so. It is effectively guaranteeing a tremendous waste of taxpayer money and creates massive cybersecurity threats but also prevents us from delivering capabilities at the pace of relevance, putting lives at risk, and potentially preventing capabilities to be made available when needed whenever world events demand, many times overnight.”
Frankly, after reading his resignation letter in full and the interview with the Financial Times, Nicolas Chaillan seems like the kind of leader the people actually should want to remain in our government. The mere thought of a human like this, educated and motivated, to serve the good of the American ideal to the best of its ability, deciding to step away from the Pentagon shows that the best of our ability is not what is being done, motivated, or better yet even funded.
Chaillan closes his resignation with “Of course, I do not plan to sleep for too long, I will be exploring rejoining boards…” and finally with “God bless us, and God bless the United States of America.”
Despite resigning to spend more time with his family and get time away from the mess that is our modern leadership, Chaillan told the Financial Times that he intends on giving a testimony to Congress sometime in the next few weeks about the Chinese threat to cybersecurity and the need for US dominance here.
If you’d like to read his full resignation letter, here’s a link to read through what he had to share about the matter. It is worth a read if you have the time. Looking forward to what could come from his testimony here and we’ll learn more from his perspective in the weeks ahead.