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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, September 04, 2021

The US Air Force's first ever chief software officer has quit the job after branding it "probably the most challenging and infuriating of my entire career" in a remarkably candid blog post.

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...Nicolas Chaillan's impressively blunt leaving note, which he posted to his LinkedIn profile, castigated USAF senior hierarchy for failing to prioritise basic IT issues, saying: "A lack of response and alignment is certainly a contributor to my accelerated exit."...

In his missive, Chaillan also singled out a part of military culture that features in both the US and the UK: the practice of appointing mid-ranking generalist officers to run specialist projects.

"Please," he implored, "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."

The former chief software officer continued:

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.

IT is a highly skilled and trained job; staff it as such.


In the British armed forces mid-ranking officers are posted, regardless of qualifications or professional experience, to manage equipment-purchasing projects for the Ministry of Defence. These postings are of fixed length and last for two years, meaning any project that takes more than two years has the potential to end up turning into a hugely expensive and unproductive mess. ...



#1 | Posted by LampLighter at 2021-09-04 11:14 AM | Reply

Co-sign. Doubt it'll change anything though

#2 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2021-09-04 11:39 AM | Reply

@#2

This part really concerns me:

..."Please," he implored, "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." ...

In a prior life in IT, I had to work for a CIO who did not understanding technology, and he almost seemed proud of that. He had told me on multiple occasions that he did not understand what was being done in my department.

But he yelled a lot, and commanded that those under him follow his timelines. Or else.

I never had a higher percentage of failed projects than when he was at the helm. I never had a higher percentage of capable technical people leave the company.

Once he left, the IT team got back to its prior near 100% success rate with on-time and working projects. A couple of the people who left returned.

#3 | Posted by LampLighter at 2021-09-04 11:51 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Well, he is 100% right based on what I read.

#4 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2021-09-04 11:51 AM | Reply

Digging into additional commentary about this person, I'm going to C&P comments from multiple individuals:

B: Nothing says "I'm leaving this job voluntarily" like an arrogant, whiny 3-pg screed about all your hard work & all the people who stood in your way.

A: So, what was the straw that broke the camel's back then? That "walk the walk" article from a few weeks ago?
B: Maybe, but it could just be all the IG complaints finally caught up to him.

#5 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2021-09-04 11:54 AM | Reply

This part really concerns me:

..."Please," he implored, "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." ...

And this summation of the leadership selection and manning is 100% spot on. This is the aspect I hope he is able to inspire change in, and i can see avenues of change implementation too. A pessimistic part of me has relied on generational change within the forces leadership (those who grew up with internet/PCs, vs those who had to adapt on the fly later in life), but perhaps this type of letter can quicken the pace of change.

#6 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2021-09-04 11:58 AM | Reply

This reminds me of the comment I've seen recently:

Most people don't quit their job. They quit their boss.

#7 | Posted by snoofy at 2021-09-04 02:02 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

Have they considered making it so that their network is not part of the publicly accessible internet?

#8 | Posted by Tor at 2021-09-04 08:25 PM | Reply

What? The poor and rural people that make up our military don't know things?

#9 | Posted by Brennnn at 2021-09-05 09:02 AM | Reply

This article helps explain Boaz a little more clearly.

#10 | Posted by bocaink at 2021-09-05 10:28 AM | Reply

Most people don't quit their job. They quit their boss.

#7 | POSTED BY SNOOFY

So true.

I didn't retire from my job. It was one of the best jobs I ever had. My job didn't stress me out ... my boss did.

So I retired from my former boss. I was tired of taking his crap and when I realized I didn't need to any more that's when I quit (retired). Best thing I ever did for me. But at least I had a retirement plan. An actual pension. Not many have that to fall back on any more.

#11 | Posted by donnerboy at 2021-09-05 11:52 AM | Reply

Biden should appoint him to be an Assistant to the Sec. of Defense to bring our military into the 21st century in terms of cyber information.

I can read the posts above but I think that a person, like Nicolas Chaillan should be listened to seriously, this is not a man who would sacrifice his career without good reason. We ignore people like him at our own peril. I worked with computers for decades and I can recognize the problem he is talking about; i.e. people being appointed to senior positions in compaies who don't have a basic understanding of the information systems they then control. I'm sure it is just worse in the military.
We need to accept reality, patriotic, long serving officers should be respected but they don't know what they are doing in real world computer systems and they should not be in charge of them. We need Geeks! And I don't mean any disrespect to geeks, we need their expertise to understand the systems and the ways we need to protect those systems.
We should look at our enemies, they aren't putting "good old guys" in charge of their computer systems.

#12 | Posted by danni at 2021-09-05 12:17 PM | Reply

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