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National Photonics Initiative Applauds Inclusion of New Quantum Resources in National Defense Authorization Act

(Washington, D.C.) - The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of optics and photonics – the science and application of light, today applauded the Senate Armed Services Committee for including additional resources to support quantum technology research in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019.

The bipartisan legislation includes authorization for U.S. $20 million in support of quantum information sciences research. Additionally, it contains language to establish coordinated defense research efforts in the critical emerging technology areas of artificial intelligence and quantum information science. It is expected to be considered in the Senate in coming weeks.

Edward White, chair of the NPI Steering Committee, and vice president for Test, Assembly and Packaging at AIM Photonics, said the inclusion of quantum technology in the Senate NDAA was an important step toward the advancement and coordination of quantum research and resources. “The Department of Defense (DOD) can play a crucial role in developing quantum technology,” White said. “What’s more, the DOD can benefit tremendously from the advancements made possible by this important research. The NPI stands ready to work with the Armed Services Committees in both the Senate and House to maintain this language in the NDAA and to ensure the DOD continues to play a key role in advancing quantum research. At the same time, we will continue working with the Science, Energy and Commerce Committees to pursue quantum initiatives in non-defense related agencies.”

The NPI has been advocating for a National Quantum Initiative (NQI) in order to better coordinate resources in support of advancing and implementing quantum technology. In recent testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Dr. Christopher Monroe, chief scientist and founder, IonQ, and professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, touted the potential benefits of quantum technology. “Quantum technology has the potential to solve many complex problems in science and society,” Monroe said. “It is imperative that the U.S. retain its leadership in this scientific and technological frontier. Implementing a National Quantum Initiative will help maintain that leadership and bridge significant workforce gaps that exist between the world’s leading quantum researchers and engineers.”

The NPI unveiled the NQI Action Plan in early April 2018 and discussed it with lawmakers during the annual NPI Capitol Hill Day that same month.  The operational goals of the NQI are to produce a world-leading industrial quantum technology workforce; engineer, industrialize and automate quantum technology; provide access to the emerging quantum computer systems; develop conventional technology and intellectual property; produce quantum software and new applications; and continue the research needed to support these goals. The NPI also highlighted the role of the DOD in the NQI.

About the NPI: The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. For more information visit