U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) recently introduced two bills that aim to better position the United States to be globally competitive in quantum information science (QIS), said a statement from Senator Hassan’s office.
According to the statement, the Quantum Network Infrastructure and Workforce Development Act – led by Senator Thune – would strengthen national security by advancing U.S. capabilities in quantum networking and establishing a more comprehensive approach to workforce development. The Quantum for Universal Advancement in Nationwide Technology Use and Modernization (QUANTUM) for National Security Act of 2021 – led by Senator Hassan – would bolster the efforts of the Department of Defense (DoD) to engage in QIS by utilizing existing partnerships, scholarships, and research programs within the DoD.
“I’m proud to join Senator Hassan to introduce these two important pieces of legislation, both of which will better enable the United States to maintain its global leadership in quantum information science,” said Thune.“Since the bipartisan passage of the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) in 2018, the United States has continued to make great strides in both fundamental and applied QIS research. These bills build upon the success of the NQIA by supporting existing efforts and accelerating critical growth in the field.”
“Quantum mechanics play a critical role in our national security and economy—and will be at the forefront of innovative defense technologies that will help to maintain our military edge over China,” said Hassan. “I am glad to join Senator Thune in introducing these bipartisan bills that will strengthen Department of Defense and Department of Energy efforts in quantum research and help encourage more young people to get into this critical field so that we can create jobs and keep America safe, secure, and free.”
Specifically, the Quantum Network Infrastructure and Workforce Development Act would:
- Focus federal research efforts and bolster interagency coordination on the advancement of quantum networking and communications technology
- Integrate the principles of quantum mechanics and QIS into K-12 and higher education curricula
- Establish a more comprehensive approach to QIS workforce development while prioritizing rural, tribal, and other traditionally underrepresented schools
Specifically, the QUANTUM for National Security Act of 2021 would:
- Improve workforce development in quantum-related fields
- Increase the pipeline of students graduating with quantum-related degrees
- Recognize the importance of prioritizing funding for quantum research in light of the economic and national security threats posed by China’s own quantum technology research investments
- Build on the National Quantum Initiative program by incorporating Defense Department research efforts within the broader program, which works to strengthen quantum science activities across government, academia, and the business community