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US National Defense Authorization Act Includes Quantum Pilot Program

Biden administration makes quantum computing a national security priority

John Potter

January 3, 2024

1 Min Read
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon being refueled after dark.
Quantum computing takes its place alongside more familiar defense technology. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Keifer Bowes via Flickr

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, signed by President Biden on December 22, 2023, includes a new quantum pilot program dedicated to harnessing near-term quantum computing applications for the Department of Defense (DOD), including the armed forces.

This year’s NDAA, named the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act, focuses on critical national security priorities, including strategic competition with global powers like China and Russia and emerging technologies such as hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, 5G and quantum computing.

The Act also authorizes a $20 million increase for DARPA’s quantum computing activities, underlining the U.S. commitment to advancing the technology. The initiative will explore, test and implement quantum and quantum-hybrid applications to address various challenges in the defense, military and national security sectors. The program emphasizes the potential of annealing quantum computing and quantum-hybrid technologies. Additionally, the Act encourages collaborative efforts between the DOD, academic institutions, small businesses and non-traditional defense contractors like quantum computing company D-Wave.

“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,” said D-Wave CEO and president Alan Baratz.

Related:Legislation, Regulation, Competition: Quantum Computing Policy in 2024

“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.”

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