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14 Oct 21. Why Small Businesses Are Essential to U.S. National Security. Small businesses are the engines of the U.S. economy, the heartbeat of communities, and the sources of U.S. global economic strength. This is often heard from the nation’s leaders, but what is not often heard is the importance of small businesses to national security. Since the middle of the 20th century, the Defense Department has relied on contributions from small businesses to make significant advances in defense capabilities. These contracts with small businesses enable citizens to benefit from technological advances in their everyday lives. Companies most people know, such as Qualcomm and Symantec, and technologies, such as GPS and modern-day LASIK surgery, were developed from defense or other federal agency contracts. In fact, even Moderna’s mRNA technology, which was used in its COVID-19 vaccine, was funded with a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency to research mRNA therapeutics in 2013. Federal law requires government agencies to award a minimum of 23% of all contracts annually to small businesses, and DOD awards its proportional share. Last year, DOD’s awards to small companies amounted to more than $80 bn, with 45% of those dollars going to disadvantaged and women-owned businesses, and those are just prime contracts. While there are tens of thousands of small businesses with DOD prime contracts, there are almost an equal number of small businesses supporting the defense mission as sub-tier suppliers to large companies that produce major platforms and systems for DOD. These companies are innovators developing cutting-edge technologies; manufacturers producing critical parts and components; and service providers that bring some of the nation’s best talent to the workforce. However, over the past decade, there have been some alarming trends. The number of small-business suppliers in the federal marketplace — specifically in the defense marketplace — has declined. If this decline continues at the current pace, the nation is at risk of losing key domestic capabilities. Further, small businesses continue to struggle with bureaucratic red tape, including competing in an environment where larger businesses are generally favored. Small businesses face disproportionate barriers to entering that marketplace. At a time when the nation faces unprecedented competition from adversaries, supply-chain vulnerabilities due to climate change and the global pandemic, and a wealth of talent from underserved communities going untapped, these trends must be reversed. That’s why President Joe Biden, in his first months in office, signed several executive orders focusing on increasing equity in federal procurements, increasing the resilience and diversity of domestic supply chains, and promoting competition in the U.S. economy. Small businesses are at the nexus of all of these efforts. To support these presidential priorities, the DOD took immediate action. First, the DOD wanted to hear directly from small businesses to better understand the challenges they face and work to address them. To that end, the department recently posted a notice in the Federal Register asking companies to let DOD know what barriers to entry they are facing. The department is streamlining entry points in the defense marketplace for small businesses by making www.business.defense.gov a single entry point for small businesses that want to learn how to do business with DOD and which small-business programs are available. DOD is also helping companies become ready to do business with the department by increasing the connectivity between Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which support companies pursuing and performing on DOD contracts, with the acquisition workforce and by providing cybersecurity resources to small businesses through Project Spectrum. There are companies in the commercial marketplace that have never done business with the DOD. These companies have the advanced technologies and capabilities needed to support missions in areas like additive manufacturing, robotics and artificial intelligence. To engage these companies, efforts such as the Defense Innovation Unit and others are using flexible, commercial-style contracts to do business with these innovative commercial firms. There is more work to be done to strengthen and ensure a vibrant small-business industrial base. This requires DOD to work closely with the private sector. Small businesses do more with more, and their innovations, agility, and diversity are pivotal, not only to DOD but to national security. Small businesses remain vital for the nation to address the myriad global challenges faced today. (Source: US DoD)
11 Oct 21. Post-Afghanistan, the US Army wants to carve out its role in the Pacific. For two decades, the Army led the U.S. military’s war in Afghanistan and, in the process, operations there and in Iraq transformed the service. It led to the purchase of billions of dollars of new weapons, the development of doctrine and adjustments to training. But while the Army was focused on counterinsurgency, the Pentagon began to turn it attention to so-called near-peer adversaries. For the past decade, national security experts have warned the U.S. was at risk of losing its advantage, and as a result the Pentagon started new initiatives, from the Third Offset strategy to the Defense Innovation Unit, to help it stay ahead technologically. Now, with the military out of Afghanistan and operations in the Middle East no longer competing for resources and attention, the Army must chart its path in a great-power conflict and do so after decades of struggling to push modernization programs across the finish line. The withdrawal from Afghanistan “furthers the opportunity for the Army to shift our mindset more fully to the great power competition, near-peer competitor challenge,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told Defense News in a Sept. 30 interview.
A ‘now problem’
In a November 2011 speech, then-President Barack Obama said he had directed his national security team “to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority.”
“As a result, reductions in U.S. defense spending will not — I repeat, will not — come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific,” he added.
In his remarks, he argued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were wrapping up, but instead, operations in Afghanistan continued, requiring the service’s attention.
Now, Wormuth said the Army must turn its focus to China.
“We need to be focusing on how does the Army contribute to enhancing our deterrent posture in the Indo-[Pacific Command] theater, because I see the China challenge as a now problem, in addition to a future challenge for us,” she said.
She acknowledged relationship-building in the region, which is key to the Army’s strategy to deter China, is more complicated than in Europe.
exercises in the South China Sea. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP)
“Most of the countries in [the Indo-Pacific] are fairly army-centric, land-force centric, so I think we do play an important role in terms of establishing those relationships, whether it’s with India, whether it’s in the Philippines, whether it’s with Thailand,” she said.
“We need to be looking at how can we continue to do more with those countries? How can we exercise more with them and develop interoperability and show that we’re able to work with our allies and partners on tangible operational things in theater that would be useful to us in a crisis for example, or in a conflict if that was required?”
While the Army already has a “robust set of exercises and exchanges with countries in the region,” Wormuth said, Army leaders want the service to be “more present” in the region.
The Army, she added, is well positioned to build strong relationships with countries through army-to-army partnering and dialogue.
About three-quarters of those in uniform in the world today are in armies, Michael O’Hanlon, the Brookings Institution’s director of research for foreign policy, told Defense News in an Oct. 6 interview.
“Most of these countries … have some ability to fend off a hypothetical Chinese assault or other regional security issues that they should have good ground forces and want to have a partnership with the world’s best army,” he said.
Using units like Security Force Assistance Brigades in the Pacific is “to some extent under-appreciated,” Wormuth said. “We can really use the SFABs to help us develop and deepen those relationships, create opportunities for greater access, create opportunities for interoperability.”
SFABs were designed initially to advise troops in Afghanistan, but they are now available to go elsewhere, she noted.
The Pacific has one such team, which has deployed to 10 different countries, including Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, Philippines and Indonesia, Gen. Charles Flynn, U.S. Army Pacific Command commander, told Defense News in a Sept. 30 interview.
The SFAB in the Pacific is “doing everything from warfighting skills to command-and-control … to advise, assist and to enable our allies and partners in the region,” Flynn said, and they “give us some persistent presence in these countries that previously, we were not able to do.”
The Army already has a “pretty extensive exercise program,” as well, Flynn said. Some are joint, but many are bilateral army-to-army, he added.
Exercises like Operation Pathways, which has emerged from existing training events Pacific Pathways and Defender Pacific, bolster the readiness of the U.S. Army, but also increase the confidence of allies and partners, Flynn said. The training is now slated to be held annually.
Indonesia, for instance, wants to create its own Combat Training Centers, no easy task considering it’s a country made up of 15,000 islands, Flynn said. The Army is now helping the country develop those training centers.
In addition, the U.S. Army is using Indo-Pacific scenarios for the vast majority of its big exercises and experiments, including U.S.-based Project Convergence at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. Project Convergence is a chance for the service to try out technology and concepts related to its aggressive force modernization plan.
The service’s No. 1 modernization priority, which is developing Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) capability, is aimed specifically at overcoming the vast distances a missile must travel in the Pacific fired from a safe stand-off range.
Even so, questions about the service’s role in the Indo-Pacific remain.
The Pentagon, for the first time, included a Pacific Deterrence Initiative in its fiscal 2022 budget request and is seeking $5.1 bn in funding — but none of the money would go to the Army directly.
“The Army is fundamentally a supporting service in the Indo-Pacific,” Brookings’ O’Hanlon said. “From a grand strategy point of view, that’s good, and we should not want to change it.”
Instead, the service should focus on providing air and missile defense, particularly base defense capabilities in the region, O’Hanlon said, and should continue to work on developing its long-range surface-to-surface fires capabilities, though it’s not obvious where those capabilities will be based.
The bases the Navy and Air Force are going to need and already possess in the Indo-Pacific “are absolutely crucial and absolutely vulnerable,” O’Hanlon said, and “I question whether the Army typically takes seriously enough the mission of base defense.”
Critics of the Army’s efforts to develop and field long-range precision fires have argued the mission is better carried out by the other services in that region.
Earlier this year, a U.S. Air Force general overseeing the service’s bomber inventory slammed the Army’s new plan to base long-range missiles in the Pacific, calling the idea expensive, duplicative and “stupid.”
But for Wormuth, “there is more than enough work to be done in the INDOPACOM theater for everyone.”
“Having turf battles about what a particular service should be doing is a bit of distraction to sort of just getting on with strengthening our deterrent posture, and I think the Army can contribute in a number of ways,” she said.
In a potential conflict, the Army has “always been particularly strong at setting the theater and providing that overarching command-and-control at scale and being able to sort of be the backbone that allows the joint force to operate together to sustain itself,” Wormuth said. “That’s a really important role for the Army.”
In 2017, the service deployed its first Multi-Domain Task Force to the Pacific to experiment with multidomain operations as a concept in that theater. Officials focused on adapting the Army’s doctrine and modernization toward what’s needed in the region.
The Pacific will be the only theater to receive two MDTF units. Europe will get one, the Arctic will get another and a fifth MDTF will be set up to flexibly deploy where needed, according to Army strategy.
MDTFs in the Pacific will be able to help prepare the operational environment for the Army to bring in its Long-Range Precision Fires capability as well as capabilities from other services, Wormuth noted.
Flynn said Army leadership is still working on the timing and details of the second team.
“We’re still in sort of preliminary stages of where we land it, how we land it and its configuration, but there’s a need for two in the Pacific,” he said.
At the same time, the Army is trying to balance its focus on the Pacific with its presence in Europe, which is aimed at deterring Russia.
Wormuth pointed to the reestablishment of V Corps with a forward element in Poland, the creation of Enhanced Forward Presence Battalions and the deployment of a rotational Armored Brigade Combat Team, which was first sent to Europe in that capacity in January 2017.
She also noted the elevation of U.S. Army Europe as a four-star headquarters, which was merged with U.S. Army Africa, as another evidence of the Army’s commitment in Europe.
“There’s a wide range of exercises we are participating in all of the time,” Wormuth said. “If there ever were to be a conflict with Russia, the Army is going to be front and center to that.”
Russia reemerged as a top threat in 2014 when it invaded and annexed Crimea. At the time, Army personnel in Europe had declined from roughly 200,000 — with two Army Corps of heavy armored forces — during the Cold War to around 33,0000 in 2015 — with only two permanently stationed brigade combat teams.
The military quickly reversed course. The fiscal year 2017 budget request more than four times the amount of funding for what was called the European Reassurance Initiative, or ERI, as a way to slow Russia’s military aggression in Eastern Europe and bolster allies’ defense capabilities. Roughly $2.8bn of the $3.4bn in ERI funding was for the Army.
The Army spent $2bn putting a “heel-to-toe” ABCT in theater 24/7 on a rotational basis on top of the Stryker brigade and infantry brigade already in Europe and also funded more aviation capability in theater.
The European Deterrence Initiative, formerly known as ERI, peaked at $6.5bn in FY19. That top line has seen a steady decline from FY20 through FY22, after a large number of infrastructure projects were completed. The Pentagon’s FY22 request for EDI totals $3.7bn.
The Army also made plans in 2019 to embark on a division-sized exercise called Defender Europe in 2020 to challenge the service’s capability to rapidly deploy from U.S. installations to U.S. ports then to ports in Europe and across the theater.
Former U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said that while the Army is focusing on the Pacific region, it’s not “turning away from Europe.”
In fact, Hodges told Defense News, “Army capabilities have continued to grow in Europe.”
The service has added the V Corps in Poland to act “as the controlling headquarters for specific operations, activities and initiatives,” according to a U.S. Army Europe and Africa statement sent to Defense News.
“Overall, the Corps is not considered fully operational capable,” but is expected to achieve this status by November, following a certification exercise which began last month and continues this month.
The Army announced earlier this year that it would stand up a Multi-Domain Task Force in Europe. The MDTF was activated last month and is already actively participating in exercises in the theater. The Army also is standing up a new Theater Fires Command.
“Still, there continues to be a need in Europe for more air and missile defense, engineers and logistical capabilities, especially transport,” Hodges said.
In its budget request for FY22, the Army seeks funding for increased persistent ballistic and cruise missile capabilities for U.S. and NATO facilities and an integrated air-and-missile defense architecture for the European theater.
To combat Russia’s information warfare capabilities, the European Deterrence Initiative would also support the Army’s Operational Influence Platform, which uses social media and “advanced online publicizing techniques” to counter propaganda and misinformation, according to budget documents.
Wormuth said many of the modernization programs that are nearly ready to field were originally focused on the European theater. “I think that just speaks to the fact that it’s a bit of a home base,” she said.
The Army this year, fielded Short-Range Air Defense Strykers in Europe, filling a gap first identified by Hodges when he commanded the Army in Europe in 2016.
But Wormuth said the Army will have to rely more on its allies in Europe to allow it to shift attention to the Pacific region.
If the Army can lean harder on its allies, “they can help us carry more load in that theater and allow us to maybe focus a little more on INDOPACOM,” she said. (Source: Defense News)
12 Oct 21. Pentagon says hypersonic weapons are too expensive. The Pentagon wants defense contractors to cut the ultimate cost of hypersonic weapons, the head of research and development said on Tuesday, as the next generation of super-fast missiles being developed currently cost tens of millions per unit.
“We need to figure out how to drive towards more affordable hypersonics,” Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu told reporters at the Association of United States Army conference in Washington. She said cost was something she “would like to help industry focus on.”
Currently, the U.S. uses cruise missiles which are mature technologies costing less than $5m per unit to strike deep into enemy territory. But cruise missiles are inferior to hypersonic weapons because they have a shorter range, are far slower and more vulnerable to being detected and shot down.
Both Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) are working on hypersonic weapons for the Pentagon.
The Pentagon’s budget request in the 2022 fiscal year for hypersonic research was $3.8bn which was up from $3.2bn the year before.
In September, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency successfully tested an air-breathing hypersonic weapon capable of speeds faster than five times the speed of sound. It was the first successful test of the class of weapon since 2013.
Hypersonic weapons travel in the upper atmosphere at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 kilometers (3,853 miles) per hour.
Shyu said “if things start to progress in success stories and as we start to buy more than onesies twosies the price curve will come down.”
In July, Russia said it had successfully tested a Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin has touted as part of a new generation of missile systems without equal in the world. (Source: Reuters)
12 Oct 21. General Says Planning, Connectivity Were Keys to Afghanistan Evacuation. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called U.S. efforts in Afghanistan a “tactical success, but a strategic failure.”
The Afghan government and military fell to the Taliban faster than anyone expected, and that was the failure, he said.
But the noncombatant evacuation operation managed to get more than 124,000 souls out of Kabul, even as the Taliban entered the Afghan capital. The effort involved thousands of service members from around the world. It was an amazing demonstration of professionalism in global reach for the United States Transportation Command, Milley said in his testimony.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Corey J. Martin discussed the operation last week with the Defense Writers Group. The keys to the evacuation operation were connectivity and planning, he said.
Planning for the noncombatant evacuation operation began in April, immediately after President Joe Biden said the U.S. effort in Afghanistan would end. “It started with planning, even though the timing of this event was not known,” the general said.
Members of U.S. Transportation Command integrated with representatives of the U.S. Central Command and the Joint Staff to plan and execute the retrograde operation of U.S. forces and equipment from Afghanistan, he said.
In August, the Taliban offensive against the Afghan government intensified and provinces began falling like dominos. Martin said the speed of the collapse was “a bit of a surprise,” but the Transcom planners were not starting from scratch when the need for the evacuation became apparent.
Every noncombatant evacuation is chaotic. The evacuations of Saigon in 1975 and Lebanon in 1975 and 2006 are just some of the examples. Those operations had the benefit of being in countries with access to seaports. The same didn’t apply to landlocked Afghanistan.
Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, the commander of U.S. Transportation Command, had another ace up his sleeve in preparing for the possible operation, Martin said. “General Lyons, as the commander of Transportation Command, has standing authorities that allow for rapid and agile repositioning of mobility forces,” Martin told the reporters.
It allows the command to direct the operational movement of C-17s or KC-135 aircraft quicker, he said.
The speed was needed as the dissolution of Afghan forces necessitated the transport of U.S. combat forces to secure Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital city of Kabul. The command had to get 6,000 service members and their supplies to the country quickly.
The aircraft and personnel to maintain and fuel them were already in place, and it “allowed the operational movement to be ready to take combat forces, literally almost overnight to Hamid Karzai International in the face of the advancing Taliban to secure that airfield, and allowed for the movement of evacuees out, and then the redeployment of the combat forces,” Martin said.
Connectivity among the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff and the U.S. combatant commands was paramount. Martin said there were constant communications with higher headquarters and with U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command and U.S. Northern Command.
In addition, there were nationals from many allied and partner countries in Kabul. Martin said at least 30 nations cooperated with the effort, which required constant communications with State Department colleagues, Homeland Security and more.
This interagency approach was most apparent at the Global Operations Center at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, the home of Transportation Command. Martin called the center the “heartbeat” of the command with all elements represented. “At the action officer level, there was integration with Department of State personnel, Customs and Border Patrol, and the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration],” he said.
It also helped point where there were seams between the commands and entities, allowing the action officers to quickly address these, he said.
The overall effort was mammoth and complex, Martin said. It is more than the gray Globemaster C-17s. It was the personnel maintaining the aircraft. It was the refuelers — in the air and on the ground. It was the combat troops on the ground and the airmen who took over the air traffic control in Afghanistan for the operation. It was State Department personnel processing the evacuees.
It was the Air Force and Navy air combat patrols over Kabul, and the service members at intermediate bases in the Middle East and Europe. It was the service members and agency partners in the United States. It was the companies and crews of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. It was intelligence professionals funneling information to the command.
All these people combined to make the noncombatant evacuation operation from Afghanistan a “tactical success,” Martin said.
Transcom is already looking at the experiences in this effort to see what can be done better, the general said. (Source: US DoD)
12 Oct 21. ‘Affordable’ hypersonics, small business and sustainment lead DoD tech chief’s priorities. The new undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, Heidi Shyu, laid out some of her top priorities for the Pentagon. In this file photo, Shyu visits Fort Bliss, Texas. The new undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, Heidi Shyu, has laid out some of her top priorities for the Pentagon in its innovation race with China during the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting Tuesday. Experimentation: Next year, Shyu wants to launch a series of annual rapid joint experiments to quickly field new weapon systems. Based on capability gaps and scenarios identified by the Joint Staff and geographic combatant commanders, Shyu’s office collected 200 ideas from the services for capabilities, and she wants to experiment with the best 32.
She’s seeking an undisclosed amount of fiscal 2023 funding to hold the first one, where troops will assess the products.
“If there’s utility, then let’s head toward rapid fielding,” she said. “If you want to add some additional capability where you go through one more cycle … we plan to do [that] every single year.”
Sustainment costs: To drive down sustainment costs for weapon systems, Shyu is seeking to create a new sustainment director position ― and, to that same end, she’s emphasizing additive manufacturing; modular, open systems; and breakthroughs in more durable materials.
The armed services collectively face tens of bns of dollars in sustainment costs that they project will be unaffordable, the Government Accountability Office reported in July. For example, the Air Force needs to reduce estimated annual per-plane costs by $3.7 m, or 47 percent, by 2036; otherwise, costs in that year alone will be $4.4bn more than it can afford. Supporting small business: Shyu is asking Congress for more flexibility in the funding to bring research and development projects to the market. That effort is performed through Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grants. Shyu wants there to be a special new tranche of funding that would continue supporting the most promising projects that are not quite ready for Phase III, aimed at commercialization. Shyu ― a former Army acquisition chief turned private consultant ― said working with small companies made her realize how difficult it is for them to navigate the Department of defense. She hailed the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, which has performed matchmaking between acquisition program officers and small companies. Those small firms are paid $5,000 to brief officials.
“Once you go through a scoring process, they will take the best in class of the ideas they really want, and they get the full funding to move ahead,” she said. “That is a great process, but it took time for them to learn and figure out what’s the best process.”
“Affordable” hypersonic weapons: Days after the Army completed its delivery of the first Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, dubbed “Dark Eagle,” to a unit, Shyu expressed confidence the service will fully field it on time, by 2023.
The Navy, which co-designed a common hypersonic missile with the Army, plans to field a ship-launched capability in 2023. “I just want to see the same capability fielded rapidly by the Navy as well,” Shyu said.
The Pentagon’s FY22 budget request for hypersonic research was $3.8 bn, up from $3.2bn in the FY21 request. With the services worrying about the costs, Shyu said she wants to help industry focus on developing “affordable hypersonics materials and processes to drive down costs.”
“As we start to buy more than onesies and twosies, the price curve will come down.” she said. (Source: Defense News)
10 Oct 21. Nicolas Chaillan: US cyber defences in some government departments are at ‘kindergarten level.’ The Pentagon’s first chief software officer said he resigned in protest at the slow pace of technological transformation in the US military, and because he could not stand to watch China overtake America. In his first interview since leaving the post at the Department of Defense a week ago, Nicolas Chaillan told the Financial Times that the failure of the US to respond to Chinese cyber and other threats was putting his children’s future at risk. “We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion,” he said, adding there was “good reason to be angry”. Chaillan, 37, who spent three years on a Pentagon-wide effort to boost cyber security and as first chief software officer for the US Air Force, said Beijing is heading for global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities. He argued these emerging technologies were far more critical to America’s future than hardware such as big-budget fifth-generation fighter jets such as the F-35. We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal Nicolas Chaillan “Whether it takes a war or not is kind of anecdotal,” he said, arguing China was set to dominate the future of the world, controlling everything from media narratives to geopolitics. He added US cyber defences in some government departments were at “kindergarten level”. He also blamed the reluctance of Google to work with the US defence department on AI, and extensive debates over AI ethics for slowing the US down. By contrast, he said Chinese companies are obliged to work with Beijing, and were making “massive investment” into AI without regard to ethics. Chaillan said he plans to testify to Congress about the Chinese cyber threat to US supremacy, including in classified briefings, over the coming weeks. He acknowledged the US still outspends China by three times on defence, but said the extra cash was immaterial because US procurement costs were so high and spent in the wrong areas, while bureaucracy and overregulation stood in the way of much-needed change at the Pentagon. Chaillan’s comments came after a congressionally-mandated US national security commission warned earlier this year that China could surpass the US as the world’s AI superpower within the next decade. Senior defence officials have acknowledged they “must do better” to attract, train and retain young cyber talent, but have defended what they argue is their responsible approach to the adoption of AI. Michael Groen, a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of the defence department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, told a conference last week he wanted to field AI across the military in an incremental way, saying its adoption would require a culture shift within the military. His comments come after US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin said in July his department “urgently needs” to develop responsible artificial intelligence as a priority, adding a new $1.5bn investment would accelerate the Pentagon’s adoption of AI over the next five years and that 600 AI efforts were already under way. But he committed that his department would not “cut corners on safety, security, or ethics”. A spokesperson for the Department of the Air Force said Frank Kendall, secretary of the US Air Force, had discussed with Chaillan his recommendations for the Department’s future software development following his resignation and thanked him for his contributions. Recommended Martin Wolf China battles the US in the artificial intelligence arms race Chaillan announced his resignation in a blistering letter at the start of September, saying military officials were repeatedly put in charge of cyber initiatives for which they lacked experience, decrying Pentagon “laggards” and absence of funding. “[W]e are setting up critical infrastructure to fail,” he said in his letter, which made only cursory reference to advances by China. “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? [ . . .]While we wasted time in bureaucracy, our adversaries moved further ahead.” Robert Spalding, a retired Air Force brigadier general who served as defence attaché in Beijing, said Chaillan had “rightfully” complained and added he too had resigned early in order to create his own encrypted defence technology solutions after being frustrated by “archaic” systems while flying B-2 stealth bombers at work. Chaillan, who naturalised as a US citizen in 2016 and led efforts to install “zero trust” cyber security measures at the Department of Homeland Security before joining the Pentagon, said he was a polarising force at the Department of Defense and that he alarmed some senior officials who thought he should keep his complaints “in the family”. The serial technological entrepreneur, who started his first business at 15 in France, said he also began to feel stale because he spent his three-year stint “fixing basic cloud things and laptops” instead of innovating. (Source: FT.com)
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