Legislation Advancing in Congress on National Quantum Initiative Programs

On September 13, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018 (H.R. 6227), introduced by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
H.R. 6227 directs the President to establish a National Quantum Coordination Office within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to oversee interagency coordination, provide strategic planning support, serve as a central point of contact for stakeholders, conduct outreach and promote commercialization of federal research by the private sector.  The White House National Quantum Initiative Program will establish a 10-year plan to accelerate the development of quantum information science and technology applications. “Quantum information science” is defined in the legislation as the storage, transmission, manipulation, or measurement of information that is encoded in systems that can only be described by the laws of quantum physics.

The National Science and Technology Council is also directed to establish a Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science, including membership from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to guide program activities.

NIST will carry out specified quantum science activities and convene a workshop to discuss the development of a quantum information science and technology industry.

The National Science Foundation will be responsible for:

  • carrying out basic research and education programs on quantum information science and engineering, and
  • awarding grants for the establishment of Multidisciplinary Centers for Quantum Research and Education.

The Department of Energy (DOE) will carry out a basic research program on quantum information science.

The Office of Science in the DOE is directed to establish and operate National Quantum Information Science Research Centers to conduct basic research to accelerate scientific breakthroughs in quantum information science and technology.

H.R. 6227 will assure that U.S. high-tech companies and quantum technology start-ups will invest heavily in quantum research and contribute their knowledge and resources to a national effort addressing fundamental research gaps.  It will also create a stronger workforce pipeline and take the lead in developing quantum standards and measures for global use with the hopes of giving U.S. companies and workers a competitive advantage in the developing technology.

Companion Legislation in the U.S. Senate

In the U.S. Senate the focus of legislation is on accelerating quantum research and development for economic and national security concerns. Bipartisan legislation S. 3143, the National Quantum Initiative Act, has been introduced by Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
S. 3143 would ensure the continued leadership of the U.S  in quantum information science and its technology applications by—
  • supporting research, development, demonstration, and application of quantum information science and technology in order to:
    • expand the number of researchers, educators, and students with training in quantum information science and technology to develop a workforce pipeline;
    • promote the development and inclusion of multidisciplinary curriculum and research opportunities for quantum information science at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral level;
    • address basic research knowledge gaps;
    • promote the further development of facilities and centers available for quantum information science and technology research, testing and education; and
    • stimulate research on and promote more rapid development of quantum-based technologies;
  • improving the interagency planning and coordination of Federal research and development of quantum information science and technology and maximizing the effectiveness of the Federal Government’s quantum information science and technology research and development programs;
  • promoting collaboration among government, Federal laboratories, industry, and universities; and
  • promoting the development of standards for quantum information science and technology security.

Everyone Benefits

Advancements in these emerging technologies helps everyone. Economically, by keeping the U.S. at the forefront of technological innovation and enhancing the competitiveness of multiple industries in an increasingly global marketplace.  For our security, E commerce currently makes up about 12% of the total retail marketplace. As more and more people continue to adapt to E commerce these technologies will help in reducing cybersecurity risks.

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