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Science and technology provisions included in Congress’ latest defense policy update reflect lawmakers ongoing interest in accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies; advancing specific technology categories such as quantum computing, microelectronics, and biotechnology; and streamlining collaboration between the Defense Department and extramural researchers.

Quantum technology.

DOD is directed to “establish a set of activities to accelerate the development and deployment of dual-use quantum capabilities,” and to provide funding through DARPA to “one or more organizations” to advance that goal. [Sec. 229] Senate appropriators have specifically proposed allocating an additional $60 million to DARPA’s budget for quantum computing activities, though the NDAA recommends $100 million.

A separate NDAA provision provides statutory backing for the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on the Economic and Security Implications of Quantum Science, an interagency coordinating body. [Sec. 6606] A third provision adds quantum information science to the list of subject areas that can be supported through a new DOD grant program that aims to improve educational institutions’ ability to provide STEM training to students in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. [Sec. 511]

Update: This item originally quoted language from the original Senate proposal directing DOD to act to “accelerate the development and deployment of a useful, large-scale, dual-use quantum computing capability,” but that language was generalized to “dual-use quantum capabilities” in the enacted version.

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