A senior cybersecurity official at the Pentagon said he quit because he thought it was impossible for the U.S. to compete with China on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Nicolas Chaillan joined the U.S. Air Force as its first chief software officer in August 2018. He worked to equip it and the Pentagon with the most secure and advanced software available.

But Chaillan quit on September 2. In his departing LinkedIn post, he cited the Pentagon’s reluctance to make cybersecurity and AI a priority as a reason for his resignation.

Speaking to the Financial Times in his first interview since leaving, Chaillan said China is streets ahead of the United States.

“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.

Chaillan went on to say that the AI capabilities and cyber defenses of some government departments were at “kindergarten level,” the FT said.

A number of U.S. departments have been subject to hacking attempts and ransomware attacks in recent years.

In April 2020, the U.S. Treasury, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and Department of Defence were compromised in the SolarWinds hack. Hackers were able to spy on the digital activities of staff and access some of their emails.