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Senators seek to boost military spending on quantum computing

By
Kyle Barnett
IBM's prototype quantum computer is on display at a 2018 trade show in Las Vegas. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI
IBM's prototype quantum computer is on display at a 2018 trade show in Las Vegas. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo

April 16 (UPI) -- Two senators are seeking to direct a chunk of this year's defense budget to quantum computing.

U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and John Thune, R-S.D., have sponsored legislation that would direct funding to the Pentagon to further development of quantum computers.

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The move also aims to modernize the defense department and increase the general security by directing more of the defense budget to training quantum computer engineers.

The request comes as the Biden administration recently unveiled a defense budget seeking $753 billion.

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Hassan emphasized the importance of quantum mechanics in U.S. national security and the economy as a whole, saying it is the only way to maintain a military advantage.

"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," Hassan said in a statement.

The proponents anticipate a positive impact on overall education, the labor market and information science as a whole as quantum computing develops.

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The defense industry has been eyeing the area for some time, as powerful quantum computers can break current encryption capabilities and make secure communications difficult.

William Davies, associate aerospace and defense analyst at GlobalData, said the "nascent technology" shows great promise in the nation's defense.

Quantum computers rely on quantum physics to store data, giving them an operational advantage.

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Experts have said quantum computers, once properly developed, will be far more advanced than anything available today.

In addition to an upheaval in the defense industry, market analysts have said the computing technology will shorten research and development times considerably for those in such fields as pharmaceutical development and greatly increase business analysis capabilities.

In 2018, the National Quantum Initiative Act was signed into law, which devoted resources to quantum computing.

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