National Quantum Initiative

The Quantum Industry Coalition used the following principles as a basis for input to inform the National Quantum Initiative Act, which passed Congress on December 19, 2018.

A National Quantum Initiative should secure US quantum leadership by playing to America’s strengths, not by trying to beat our international competitors at their game.  In creating a National Quantum Initiative, the federal government should:

  • Industry, academic, civilian government, and military stakeholders should come together to set broad goals for quantum R&D.  These goals should not be imposed top-down by the government, but should develop out of an ongoing discussion among all stakeholders.  The goals should focus on results that help strengthen the US economy and US national security.
  • Exchange information. Compiling and sharing non-sensitive information about public- and private-sector R&D will enable the government to assess progress toward goals and to minimize gaps and overlaps.  Participation should be voluntary.  Steps should be taken to avoid collecting sensitive information and to protect any such information that is collected.
  • Accelerate R&D toward usable results. Clear objectives and information about current efforts should enable the federal government to direct increased funding toward a balanced mix of fundamental and translational research efforts that will yield usable technology in the medium term as well as advancing quantum science in the long term.
  • Advance US national security. Only by harnessing the capabilities of a strong and diverse quantum economy will the US be able to win the national security quantum race.  Excessive or unwieldy secrecy or export control requirements will stifle US quantum R&D while spurring innovation overseas.
  • Promote workforce development. American quantum companies need to have access to a pool of qualified American workers.  Educational institutions should be incentivized to respond to projected industry demand.
  • Work with US allies as appropriate. American leadership need not exclude other countries.  Many of our closest allies are home to leading companies and research institutions in the field that can help advance US priorities in partnership with industry.
  • Avoid common pitfalls:
    • Mandating specific technologies. It is too early to know which technologies will pan out, and the federal government should not play that role at any point.
    • Picking winners and losers in the marketplace. The government should maintain a level playing field and let competition determine who wins and who loses.
    • Crowding out private-sector investment. The government should leverage private-sector investment, not compete against it.
    • Excessively controlling technology. Over-classification and stringent export controls will merely push development overseas while slowing it in the US.