Biden signs NDAA; D-Wave commends quantum provisions
The $886 billion U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed into law last week by President Joe Biden, and with it, provisions to support the U.S. quantum industry and to help protect the nation from quantum-enabled security threats that others could pose.
A press release from the office of Senator Hassan (D-N.H) noted that bipartisan measures in the NDAA that were sponsored by Sen. Hassan and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) call for (1) the expansion of existing public-private talent exchange programs in the U.S. Department of Defense to include private sector entities working on quantum technology research and applications; and (2) the authorization of a fellowship program in the Defense Department for students focusing on quantum information science and technology research.
D-Wave Quantum also issued a lengthy statement praising the quantum-specific aspects of the NDAA:
“This significant action establishes a program focused on near-term applications development to solve problems facing the Department of Defense (DOD) including the Armed Forces. This program will test, evaluate, and use quantum and quantum-hybrid applications to address problems facing our defense, military, and national security operations, such as meeting the near-term needs of warfighters, and explicitly calls out consideration to use annealing quantum computing and quantum-hybrid technologies. The new law also calls for building and strengthening relationships between the DOD, academic institutions, small businesses, and non-traditional defense contractors, an important move given the significant quantum innovation driven by small businesses like D-Wave.
The pilot program aims to build and mature demonstrations, proof of concepts (POCs), and pilots using all viable quantum computing systems ensuring that the U.S. Defense department is using the best available technology to achieve mission objectives. D-Wave has already developed demos, POCs, and applications for other governments and businesses around the world to solve optimization challenges and has the technology that is necessary to begin working with the U.S. government today… This new program aligns with other Congressional language on quantum calling for near-term application development and inclusivity of annealing, gate-model, and quantum-hybrid technologies in a variety of pieces of legislation expected to move next year.”
D-Wave CEO Dr. Alan Baratz added, “We applaud Congress and the Administration for taking this critical step to accelerate the use of quantum to provide solutions for critical challenges facing DOD and our military. This bipartisan action also moves us closer to other global leaders who have already begun to build applications that benefit national security. D-Wave and its customers have already built several quantum-hybrid applications that can provide important benefits for the military, and we look forward to working with the government to advance this new pilot program.”
The NDAA’s signing into law came days after it passed through Congress. While it is encouraging, Congress has yet to renew the five-year-old National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act, which expired in September. Congress held initial hearings on the reauthorization of the act earlier this year, and the National Science and Technology Council this month issued its latest report regarding the NQI and its importance.
Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.