First U.S. Chief Software Officer resigns to sound alarm that U.S. must outcompete China


On September 7, U.S. Air Force Chief Software Officer Nicolas Chaillan resigned in a post on Linked in titled, “It is time to say Goodbye!”

“I realize more clearly than ever before,” he wrote, “that in 20 years from now, our children…will have no chance competing in a world where China has the drastic advantage of population over the US.”

Chaillan told ‘Fox & Friends First’ Thursday that his goal in resigning was not to admit defeat, but to implore people to understand that ‘we’re running out of time.’ 

“If we do not take action right now, we will be facing a situation where we will not be able to catch up.”

“I resigned,” he said, “because I wanted to raise the alarm and ensure we take action before it is too late.”

The issue, Chaillan believes, lies in part with top U.S. officials: “The reports coming out from the Pentagon saying that China is catching up…when really it is now a real threat to our democracy” he said.

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Chaillan joined the Pentagon as Chief Software Officer in 2019, the first to hold that title. He also co-led the Department of Defense’s Development, security, and operations division, DEVSECOPS. 

There, he quickly identified a key difference between the way the U.S. and China interact with their private-sector technology companies. 

“China is able to mandate these companies to work with them, to get access to data and access to artificial intelligence and technology at a faster pace” he said, underscoring that the United States is “not able to reach out to our U.S. companies.”

“If you want to compete in a world 10 to 20 years from now, AI is going to be driving the show” he said, stressing the urgency with which he believes the U.S. must act. “If you get behind, it is going to compound over time and you will have a very tough time catching up.”

“When people say…we have five or ten years to…wake up, that’s actually false, because by that time it’s going to be too late.”

Chailian told Fox News he wants to be very clear that he does not believe that the U.S. has already lost the technology war with China, but asserts that “if we don’t wake up now, we have no fighting chance to win against China in 15 years.”

“We are competing against 1.5 billion folks here,” he concluded. “Either we are smarter and more agile, or we lose. Period.”

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