As allies and adversaries alike are actively making sizable investments in quantum systems, the U.S. will need to maintain momentum to secure a global leadership position in quantum science. Following is an ecosystem assessment and an update on USG legislative efforts for maintaining American strategic competitiveness through the National Quantum Initiative Act.
From the Rand Corporation Report:
“The U.S. government has identified quantum technology as important for future U.S. economic prosperity and national security because it could eventually offer groundbreaking new capabilities in information collection, processing, and communication. RAND researchers had previously developed a set of metrics for holistically assessing a nation’s industrial base in quantum technology and had applied those metrics to the industrial bases of the United States and China. For this report, the authors used a similar methodology to assess the quantum industrial bases of several other nations.
The report begins with a broad look at the entire global quantum ecosystem, and then focuses in more detail on Australia, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom (UK). The authors considered four categories of metrics: scientific research, government support, industry activity, and technical achievement. Whenever possible, they assessed the metrics separately across the three technology application domains of quantum computing, quantum communications, and quantum sensing. The report concludes with recommendations for how policymakers could strengthen international collaboration in quantum technology research and development (R&D) between the United States and its allied nations.”
- Both universities and private companies are engaging in extensive international collaboration in quantum technology R&D between the United States and allied nations.
- Other than the United States and China, Germany and the UK are the two nations with the highest output of scientific research in each of the three main quantum technology application domains. Japan is one of the next two nations in each application domain.
- Germany and the UK are the U.S.-allied nations with the highest government investment in quantum technology R&D. (However, the Netherlands invests a higher proportion of its gross domestic product in government funding for quantum technology R&D than either Germany or the UK does.)
- Japan has the highest level of patenting in each of the three application domains.
- The cutting edge of quantum technology is rapidly shifting from open research institutions to private industry, and it is becoming more difficult to determine the technical state of the art from nonproprietary sources.
- Many nations have announced ambitious plans to develop their own quantum computers domestically over the next few years.
- The quantum industrial bases of Australia, the UK, Germany, and Japan each have distinct organizational structures and focuses.
- Australia, Germany, Japan, and the UK each engage in significant scientific collaboration with, and receive significant research funding from, both U.S. and Chinese organizations.
- In one technical area—silicon-spin-qubit quantum computing—other nations are arguably ahead of both the United States and China.
- U.S.-allied nations provide various key components in the quantum technology supply chain.
- Focus quantum technology R&D collaboration with U.S.-allied nations in areas where the nations’ technical strengths complement those of the United States.
- Leverage the complementary organizational aspects of the quantum industrial bases of the United States and its allies.
- Identify and monitor critical component and material suppliers based in U.S.-allied nations.
- Identify and monitor potential sources of technology leakage in allies’ funding and collaboration networks.
- Organize a recurring multilateral meeting of quantum technology experts from leading U.S. and ally governments to facilitate information-sharing and planning.
The reauthorization of 2018’s landmark quantum information sciences legislation is set to move to a full House vote, though a companion has not yet been introduced in the Senate.
As reported at NextGov/FCW:
A major piece of legislation dedicated to growing the U.S.’s domestic quantum sciences and technology industry passed a House of Representatives committee vote, with the inclusion of 19 new amendments. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a final markup hearing for the legislation on Wednesday, which saw the National Quantum Initiative Act reauthorization pass unanimously out of the committee and advance towards the House floor.
The first National Quantum Initiative Act was signed into law in 2018 by former President Donald Trump. Major changes included in the bill’s reauthorization expand the research frontiers and goals provisioned by the bill. One amendment allows for the study of quantum information research and how it intersects with artificial intelligence, while another prioritizes quantum information sciences research specifically within the healthcare industry. Another amendment added the Post Quantum Cybersecurity Standards Act to the bill text. Introduced by Reps. Jeff Jackson, D-N.C., and Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., in September, that bill calls for stronger preparations to implement post-quantum cryptographic algorithms ahead of the onset of a fault-tolerant quantum computer.
The National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) was signed into law by President Trump on December 21, 2018 “to accelerate quantum research and development for the economic and national security of the United States.” The NQIA authorized the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to strengthen quantum information science programs, centers, and consortia. The NQIA also called for a coordinated approach to quantum research and development efforts across the United States government, including the civilian, defense, and intelligence sectors by establishing the National Quantum Coordination Office within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy . Quantum technologies will be transformative across the scientific, economic, and defense realms. For that reason, there is a global race among great powers to develop operational quantum platforms across a variety of applications.
The United States has retained its lead in the theoretical physics that underpins quantum computing and related technologies, but adversarial nations like China have taken the lead in developing some quantum communications applications and are rapidly closing the gap in other areas. Reauthorizing and updating NQIA’s quantum programs is critical to ensuring that the United States’ policies reflect the advances made in quantum information science, engineering, and technology since the passage of the original Act. A reauthorization is also necessary to ensure the quantum industry and ecosystem has access to a robust, educated workforce and the U.S. is partnering with allied nations to bolster quantum research and development to counter quantum advancements by our competitors.
H.R. 6213, The National Quantum Initiative Reauthorization Act reauthorizes the National Quantum Initiative Act ensuring continued U.S. leadership in quantum technology.
Quantum information science (QIS) is a unification of quantum mechanics and information theory — two foundational fields underpinning modern technology — that could yield transformative new types of computers, sensors, and networks, with the potential to improve the Nation’s prosperity and security. Investments in fundamental QIS research lay a foundation for technologies of the future and open new frontiers in science.
The National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act was enacted in December 2018 to accelerate American leadership in QIS technology. The NQI Act authorizes U.S. Federal departments and agencies (hereafter, “agencies”) to establish centers and consortia and carry out new programs to foster QIS research and development (R&D). The NQI Act also calls for coordination of QIS R&D efforts across the Federal Government, as well as with industry and the academic community.
Over the last year, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken major steps to continue accelerating U.S. leadership in QIS. In May, the President signed both an Executive Order to Enhance the NQI Advisory Committee and a National Security Memorandum on Promoting United States Leadership in Quantum Computing While Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Cryptographic Systems. Together, these orders emphasize the importance of a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to move the field forward, while taking important steps to mitigate any potential economic or national security risks.
This is the third annual report on the NQI Program and budget, as required by Section 103(g) of the NQI Act. This report follows a sustained investment in the NQI Program, building upon the establishment of several NQI centers, the Quantum Economic Development Consortium, and new QIS R&D activities. Agencies reported actual budget expenditures for QIS R&D of $449 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, $672 million in FY 2020, and $855 million in FY 2021, followed by $918 million of enacted budget authority for QIS R&D in FY 2022, and a requested budget authority of $844 million for QIS R&D in FY 2023.
In line with the National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science, the United States is making substantial and sustained investments in fundamental QIS R&D to explore a wide range of applications and nurture a culture of discovery. Major efforts funded by several agencies are recognized in this report. Furthermore, overviews of agency efforts to progress on cross-cutting QIS policy topics such as investing in fundamental science and engineering, developing the workforce capacity, engaging with industry, investing in infrastructure, maintaining economic and national security, and encouraging international cooperation, are provided.
QIS can have profound and positive impacts on society and the way each agency accomplishes its mission. Recognizing the importance of a quantum workforce that is diverse, inclusive, and reflects the whole-of-society, agencies are prioritizing efforts to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to benefit from participation in QIS. Furthermore, while the development of QIS technology is at an early stage, now is a critical time to develop the fundamental scientific knowledge, infrastructure, and workforce needed to create new applications for QIS-inspired technologies, grow the marketplace, and foster an ecosystem for basic, applied, and translational research in this field.
The full 2023 Annual Report on the NQI Program Budget can be found here.
Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Budget Data
- QIS R&D Program Highlights
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
- The National Science Foundation (NSF)
- The Department of Energy (DOE)
- The Department of Defense (DOD)
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
- The National Security Agency (NSA)
- The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)
- QIS Policy Areas
- Choosing a Science-First Approach to QIS
- Creating a Quantum-Smart Workforce for Tomorrow
- Deepening Engagement with Quantum Industry
- Providing Critical Infrastructure
- Maintaining National Security and Economic Growth
- Advancing International Cooperation
Summary and Outlook
The NQI Act calls for a ten-year NQI Program, with an assessment of U.S. leadership in QIS after five years and an updated strategic plan at that time. To support the NQI Program development, implementation, and planning, the budget data and programmatic overview provided in this annual NQI Supplement to the President’s Budget is an important step. Looking forward, the Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science (SCQIS) and Subcommittee on Economic and Security Implications of Quantum Science (ESIX), with support from the National Quantum Coordination Office (NQCO) and information from the NQI Advisory Committee (NQIAC), will work to identify the most important metrics to chart progress towards NQI Program goals and priorities.
As the landscape evolves, the Subcommittees will develop new policies and update current ones to ensure activities are in alignment with the current and future needs of the QIS ecosystem. By continuing to prioritize investment in fundamental QIS across agencies, the United States will be positioned to capitalize on scientific advancements in this emerging area for economic prosperity, national security, and the betterment of the American people.
Additional OODA Loop Resources
Technology Convergence and Market Disruption: Rapid advancements in technology are changing market dynamics and user expectations. See: Disruptive and Exponential Technologies.
The New Tech Trinity: Artificial Intelligence, BioTech, Quantum Tech: Will make monumental shifts in the world. This new Tech Trinity will redefine our economy, both threaten and fortify our national security, and revolutionize our intelligence community. None of us are ready for this. This convergence requires a deepened commitment to foresight and preparation and planning on a level that is not occurring anywhere. The New Tech Trinity.
Quantum Computing and Quantum Sensemaking: Quantum Computing, Quantum Security and Quantum Sensing insights to drive your decision-making process. Quantum Computing and Quantum Security
Computer Chip Supply Chain Vulnerabilities: Chip shortages have already disrupted various industries. The geopolitical aspect of the chip supply chain necessitates comprehensive strategic planning and risk mitigation. See: Chip Stratigame
Materials Science Revolution: Room-temperature ambient pressure superconductors represent a significant innovation. Sustainability gets a boost with reprocessable materials. Energy storage sees innovations in solid-state batteries and advanced supercapacitors. Smart textiles pave the way for health-monitoring and self-healing fabrics. 3D printing materials promise disruptions in various sectors. Perovskites offer versatile applications, from solar power to quantum computing. See: Materials Science
Corporate Board Accountability for Cyber Risks: With a combination of market forces, regulatory changes, and strategic shifts, corporate boards and their directors are now accountable for cyber risks in their firms. See: Corporate Directors and Risk
Geopolitical-Cyber Risk Nexus: The interconnectivity brought by the Internet has made regional issues affect global cyberspace. Now, every significant event has cyber implications, making it imperative for leaders to recognize and act upon the symbiosis between geopolitical and cyber risks. See The Cyber Threat
Challenges in Cyber “Net Assessment”: While leaders have long tried to gauge both cyber risk and security, actionable metrics remain elusive. Current metrics mainly determine if a system can be compromised, without guaranteeing its invulnerability. It’s imperative not just to develop action plans against risks but to contextualize the state of cybersecurity concerning cyber threats. Despite its importance, achieving a reliable net assessment is increasingly challenging due to the pervasive nature of modern technology. See: Cyber Threat
Recommendations for Action
Track Technology Driven Disruption: Businesses should examine technological drivers and future customer demands. A multi-disciplinary knowledge of tech domains is essential for effective foresight. See: Disruptive and Exponential Technologies.
The Inevitable Acceleration of Reshoring and its Challenges: The momentum towards reshoring, nearshoring, and friendshoring signals a global shift towards regional self-reliance. Each region will emphasize local manufacturing, food production, energy generation, defense, and automation. Reshoring is a complex process, with numerous examples of failures stemming from underestimating intricacies. Comprehensive analyses encompassing various facets, from engineering to finance, are essential for successful reshoring endeavors. See: Opportunities for Advantage