(Defense.gov) Three of the Defense Department’s 11 principal directors of modernization within the Office of Defense Research and Engineering, recently discussed quantum science, 5G and directed energy. The three are responsible for informing senior DOD leaders about science and technology investments that will provide warfighters the greatest return on investment.
Paul Lopata, principal director for quantum science, said the DOD has been doing quantum science research for the last 20 or 30 years. He explained quantum science is actually having an impact on DOD operations today in four areas, he said.
The first and probably most important, he said, are atomic clocks. The department has historically used high-performance timekeeping for such things as position, navigation and timing, and GPS. The department is developing higher performance atomic clocks to respond to enemy threats, he said.
The second category, he said, is made up of quantum sensors of different types, used for gyros, accelerometers, magnetometers and gravitational sensors, all of which are used for position, navigation and timing. Research is being done to improve quantum sensors as well.
Quantum computing is the third category, Lopata said. That’s a future development that will enable computers to attain extraordinarily high performance.
The fourth category uses quantum science for communications networks, he said. That capability will also mature further down the road.
Although quantum science for computing and networks is not yet fully developed, a lot of good basic research is being done in those categories to ensure that those capabilities will eventually yield results.