(C4isrnet) The U.S. Department of Defense must determine the national security threat posed by quantum computing, as part of the new annual defense policy law.
The fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law New Year’s Day after the Senate overrode President Donald Trump’s veto, contained a provision that directed the department to deliver a report to Congress that provides a “comprehensive assessment of the current and potential threats and risks posed by quantum computing technologies to critical national security systems.”
“Quantum computing may allow adversaries to decrypt [unclassified, classified or sensitive] information, which could enable them to target U.S. personnel and military operations,” a November Congressional Research Service report warned.
The Department must identify and prioritize critical national security systems at risk by quantum computing. The assessment must be completed by Dec. 31, 2021, and the secretary of defense must brief defense committees by February next year. Determining the risk posed by the emerging technology, Alwen said, includes understanding the criticality of the systems that need protected.