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Quantum Leap: How a New Bill Could Boost U.S. Leadership in Quantum Technology


Quantum technology, which harnesses the strange and powerful properties of quantum physics, has the potential to transform many fields and industries, from computing and communication to sensing and metrology. However, quantum technology also poses significant challenges and risks, such as the threat of quantum computers breaking current encryption methods or the need for new standards and protocols to ensure interoperability and security.





The bill, called the National Quantum Initiative Extension Act of 20232, was introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in March 2023 and was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in April 2023. The bill was then passed by the Senate in June 2023 and by the House of Representatives in September 2023, with overwhelming support from both parties. The bill was signed into law by President Biden on October 23, 20233.



The bill extends the authorization of appropriations for the NQI through fiscal year 2028, increasing the funding levels for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE) to support quantum research, education, infrastructure, and workforce development. The bill also authorizes additional funding for quantum information science (QIS) activities at other federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).



  • Establishes a new subcommittee on QIS under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to coordinate QIS activities across federal agencies and with external stakeholders.

  • Creates a new QIS Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations to the NSTC subcommittee on QIS matters.

  • Directs NIST to establish a consortium of stakeholders to identify and address QIS measurement, standards, cybersecurity, and other needs.

  • Requires NSF to support multidisciplinary centers for quantum research and education, as well as QIS curriculum development and teacher training programs.

  • Mandates DOE to establish national quantum information science research centers, as well as a quantum network infrastructure research and development program and a quantum user expansion for science and technology program.



The bill also includes some new provisions that were not part of the original NQI Act, such as:


  • Authorizing NIST to award grants for the establishment and operation of quantum innovation hubs, which would facilitate collaboration among academia, industry, government, and non-governmental organizations on QIS applications.

  • Directing NSF to support research on the ethical, legal, environmental, and societal implications of QIS.

  • Requiring DOE to conduct a study on the feasibility and potential benefits of establishing a national quantum computing user facility.



The bill’s sponsors and supporters have hailed it as a crucial step to ensure U.S. leadership and competitiveness in quantum technology, as well as to foster innovation and collaboration among diverse stakeholders.


Senator Thune said: “Quantum technology is one of the most promising fields for advancing American innovation, creating new industries and jobs, and enhancing our national security. This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that our nation remains at the forefront of this cutting-edge field by providing sustained funding and coordination for quantum research and development across federal agencies.”

Senator Cantwell said: “Quantum technology is not just science fiction – it is already transforming everything from health care to national security. The United States must continue to lead in this critical field, which is why I am proud to join Senator Thune in introducing this bipartisan bill that will extend and expand our nation’s quantum initiative. This bill will boost our quantum workforce, infrastructure, standards, and ethics, while fostering collaboration among academia, industry, government, and civil society.”

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Chairwoman of the House Science Committee, said: “Quantum information science is one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving areas of scientific discovery and technological innovation. It is also one of the most competitive fields globally, with many countries investing heavily in quantum research and development. The United States cannot afford to fall behind in this race for quantum supremacy. That is why I am pleased that Congress has passed this bipartisan bill that will extend our nation’s commitment to advancing quantum science for years to come.”


Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ranking Member of the House Science Committee, said: “Quantum technology has the potential to revolutionize many sectors of our economy and society, from computing and communication to health and energy. It also poses significant challenges and risks that require careful and coordinated action from our government, industry, academia, and civil society. This bipartisan bill will ensure that the United States remains a global leader in quantum innovation by providing long-term funding and strategic guidance for quantum research and development across federal agencies.”


The bill has also received support from various stakeholders in the quantum community, such as the American Physical Society (APS), the Computing Research Association (CRA), the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Intel, and others.


APS President Jim Gates said: “The National Quantum Initiative Extension Act is a landmark achievement for the U.S. quantum community. It demonstrates the strong bipartisan support and recognition of the importance of quantum science and technology for our nation’s future. APS applauds Senators Thune and Cantwell and Representatives Johnson and Lucas for their leadership and vision in advancing this critical legislation.”


CRA Executive Director Peter Harsha said: “The National Quantum Initiative Extension Act is a vital investment in the U.S. quantum ecosystem. It provides sustained and robust funding for quantum research, education, infrastructure, and workforce development across federal agencies. It also fosters collaboration and coordination among diverse stakeholders in the quantum field. CRA commends Senators Thune and Cantwell and Representatives Johnson and Lucas for their bipartisan efforts to pass this bill.”

ITIF President Robert Atkinson said: “The National Quantum Initiative Extension Act is a key step to ensure U.S. leadership and competitiveness in quantum technology. It provides long-term funding and coordination for quantum research and development across federal agencies. It also supports quantum innovation hubs, standards, ethics, and user facilities that will accelerate the translation of quantum science into practical applications. ITIF congratulates Senators Thune and Cantwell and Representatives Johnson and Lucas for their bipartisan work to pass this bill.”



IBM Vice President of Quantum Computing Dario Gil said: “The National Quantum Initiative Extension Act is a significant milestone for the U.S. quantum industry. It provides stable and increased funding for quantum research and development across federal agencies. It also enables quantum innovation hubs, standards, ethics, and user facilities that will enhance the collaboration and integration of the quantum ecosystem. IBM thanks Senators Thune and Cantwell and Representatives Johnson and Lucas for their bipartisan leadership to pass this bill.”


Microsoft President Brad Smith said: “The National Quantum Initiative Extension Act is a crucial legislation for the U.S. quantum sector. It provides consistent and enhanced funding for quantum research and development across federal agencies. It also supports quantum innovation hubs, standards, ethics, and user facilities that will foster the innovation and adoption of quantum technology. Microsoft appreciates Senators Thune and Cantwell and Representatives Johnson and Lucas for their bipartisan efforts to pass this bill.”


Google Vice President of Engineering Hartmut Neven said: “The National Quantum Initiative Extension Act is an important legislation for the U.S. quantum community. It provides reliable and expanded funding for quantum research and development across federal agencies. It also supports quantum innovation hubs, standards, ethics, and user facilities that will facilitate the development and deployment of quantum technology. Google thanks Senators Thune and Cantwell and Representatives Johnson and Lucas for their bipartisan work to pass this bill.”


Amazon Web Services Vice President of Public Policy Michael Punke said: “The National Quantum Initiative Extension Act is a vital legislation for the U.S. quantum field. It provides dependable and increased funding for quantum research and development across federal agencies. It also supports quantum innovation hubs, standards, ethics, and user facilities that will enable the creation and utilization of quantum technology. Amazon Web Services applauds Senators Thune and Cantwell and Representatives Johnson and Lucas for their bipartisan efforts to pass this bill.”



Intel Senior Vice President of Technology Development Ann Kelleher said: “The National Quantum Initiative Extension Act is a significant legislation for the U.S. quantum industry. It provides stable and enhanced funding for quantum research and development across federal agencies. It also supports quantum innovation hubs, standards, ethics, and user facilities that will boost the innovation and adoption of quantum technology. Intel congratulates Senators Thune and Cantwell and Representatives Johnson and Lucas for their bipartisan leadership to pass this bill."



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