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NSM10: The National Quantum Initiative (NQI) and the NQI Advisory Committee

We have another crucial update on what has been characterized as “the greatest cryptographic migration in history.”

National Security Memorandum (NSM) 8, “Improving the Cybersecurity of National Security, Department of Defense and Intelligence Community Systems” was released in January, and was followed up by the Quantum Cybersecurity Preparedness Act.  We provided an initial analysis of NSM8, followed by follow-a up breakdown and analysis on April 29th of NSM8 and the Quantum Cybersecurity Preparedness Act (including the 30, 60, 90, and 180-day deadlines from the date of the memorandum and the legislation).

We also included directives and deadlines related to zero trust architecture – as OODA Network members are proponents of the innovative architecture.  Also of interest (and encouraging):  commercial cloud technologies and commercial national security algorithms (CNSA) cropped up in a few places, complete with specific directives.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing a post-quantum cryptography standard and partnered on a DHS roadmap as an interim document to prepare agencies for the transition.

Research questions we continue to pursue are:

  • Do We Need a Joint Quantum Cybersecurity Collaborative?  Our point of reference is the CISA Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) – which was launched in 2021 and has made significant contributions to critical Joint Cybersecurity Advisories released in the last few weeks.  It seems logical that early, formal private sector collaboration would be productive in this space as well.
  • Will OMB Reports Prove Adequate?  OMB is required to report annually on the state of this governmentwide transition.  Is the OMB report format enough for this behemoth, important initiative?  What are other organizations which should manage the information generated from this project? and what innovative taxonomies exist for the innovative structuring and dissemination of information throughout this cryptographic migration?

National Security Memorandum 10

Days after our analysis in April, our core research question regarding a more formal role for the private sector in this migration was answered by the release on May 4th of National Security Memorandum (NSM) 10: “National Security Memorandum on Promoting United States Leadership in Quantum Computing While Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Cryptographic Systems” – which includes:

  • The establishment of an open working group with industry, including critical infrastructure owners and operators, and other stakeholders…to further advance the adoption of quantum-resistant cryptography.”; and
  • Establishing a “Migration to Post-Quantum Cryptography Project” at the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence to work with the private sector to address cybersecurity challenges posed by the transition to quantum-resistant cryptography.  This project shall develop programs for the discovery and remediation of any system that does not use quantum-resistant cryptography or that remains dependent on vulnerable systems.

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.