Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., introduced two separate bills that aim to boost United States leadership in quantum information science (QIS).

“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 Sen. Thune in a press release.

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The Quantum Network Infrastructure and Workforce Development Act is led by Sen. Thune and “would strengthen national security by advancing U.S. capabilities in quantum networking and establishing a more comprehensive approach to workforce development.” The bill would:

  • Focus Federal research efforts and interagency coordination on advancing quantum networking and communications technology;
  • Integrate the principles of quantum mechanics and QIS into K-12 and higher education curricula; and
  • Establish an approach to QIS workforce development while prioritizing rural, tribal, and other traditionally underrepresented schools.

The Quantum for Universal Advancement in Nationwide Technology Use and Modernization (QUANTUM) for National Security Act of 2021 is led by Sen. Hassan and “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.” The QUANTUM for National Security Act of 2021 would:

  • Improve workforce development in quantum;
  • Increase the pipeline of students graduating with quantum-related degrees;
  • Recognize the importance of prioritizing funding for quantum research due to the economic and national security threats posed by China’s quantum research; and
  • Build on the National Quantum Initiative program by incorporating DoD research efforts within the broader program, which works to strengthen quantum science activities across government, academia, and the business community.

“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 Sen. 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.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.