Nicolas Chaillan, the first-ever chief software officer (CSO) of the United States Air Force (USAF) and co-lead of the Department of Defense (DoD) Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative, announced his resignation today in a post on LinkedIn.

Chaillan had served as the DoD DevSecOps co-lead since August 2018 and concurrently as CSO at USAF since May 2019.

“It is time for me to say goodbye to the Department of Defense and the Department of the Air Force,” Chaillan said. “It has been an honor serving as the first Chief Software Officer in the U.S. Government and particularly in the Department of the Air Force.”

Among the reasons Chaillan gave for his resignation – which he calls “one of the main reasons” – is the lack of fiscal year 2022 funding to produce a minimum viable product of the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) data fabric. Chaillan had previously been approached to be CSO for the JADC2 team.

“After all the talk and continued assertions that this was critical work, DoD could not even find $20M to build tremendously beneficial warfighter capabilities,” Chaillan wrote. “A rounding error for the Department.”

This perceived lack of urgency around the project is just one of multiple gripes Chaillan lists and said he and USAF CIO Lauren Knausenberger are “still largely unempowered to fix basic IT issues.” He added, “Please empower her. She can get things done faster than nobody else I know.”

Chaillan’s resignation was not all complaints, however. He took the time to list off some of his wins at DoD, including creating the first DoD Enterprise DevSecOps Managed Service, creating the first large-scale implementation of zero trust in the Federal government, and bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning to USAF jets.

It is not immediately clear who will step in as USAF CSO in Chaillan’s absence. An Air Force spokesperson told MeriTalk they are aware of Chaillan’s resignation post but have not yet named an Acting CSO.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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