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Senator Hassan Highlights Need to Invest in Quantum Technology and Cybersecurity in Congressional Trip to Key U.S. Sites

Senator Hassan Spoke with Military Leaders, Quantum Technology Experts, and Cybersecurity Professionals About Emerging Threats and Opportunities

WASHINGTON ­-- U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) met with military leaders, quantum technology experts, and cybersecurity professionals this week to hear about their research in quantum information sciences, as well as emerging quantum and cybersecurity threats, at sites in Colorado and New York.


U.S. researchers are working to use quantum physics to develop advanced computing, sensing, and communication systems. At the same time, quantum research by U.S. adversaries, such as the Chinese government, poses an emerging threat to standard data encryption methods used around the world. Protecting data and national security requires proactive planning and research to help maintain America’s technological advantages. During the trip, Senator Hassan spoke to experts about the opportunities and risks that quantum technology poses; the challenges of maintaining robust, secure supply chains; the importance of collaborating with our partners and allies; and the importance of developing the current and future workforce to be interested in working in these emerging fields.


For photos of the Senator’s trip, click here.


“Quantum information science is an emerging field that has serious implications for national security, including the potential for our adversaries to use this technology to decode encrypted messages and data,” Senator Hassan said. “The Chinese government has already invested many billions of dollars in quantum research and development, and it’s imperative that the United States keep up. I appreciated having the opportunity to learn directly from the experts about how this technology can be used to strengthen our national security, as well as provide tangible economic and health benefits to Americans. It was also helpful to hear more about the cybersecurity threats facing our country, and what actions we can take to protect against these threats. I will continue to push my colleagues to make critical investments in quantum information science and our cybersecurity infrastructure.”


On Monday, Senator Hassan visited the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at Boulder Laboratories in Colorado, a federal agency at the forefront of quantum information science research. During her visit, the Senator heard about the work that the agency is doing to help create faster and more powerful microchips using quantum physics principles. Senator Hassan also stopped by an innovative company, Infleqtion, which is working to create parts critical for quantum research, such as the glass cells that hold quantum particles, and quantum devices to enhance critical national and economic security capabilities, such as additional ways to navigate and maintain global positioning when the existing Global Positioning System (GPS) goes down.


The next day, Senator Hassan visited North America Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs. During the visit, the Senator heard from military and national security leaders about the current and emerging threats facing the U.S. homeland, including threats in cyberspace. Later that day, the Senator toured the U.S. Space Command Cheyenne Mountain Complex, which was built during the Cold War to withstand a nuclear attack and houses a number of critical homeland defense functions, such as an early warning center designed to protect against ballistic missile, and other air attacks, against North America. Finally, Senator Hassan toured Denver International Airport with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration, where she heard about the steps that the airport has taken to keep travelers safe, such as implementing new screening technology designed to keep travelers safe while speeding up the passenger screening process.


In the last leg of the trip, Senator Hassan traveled to upstate New York to tour the Center for Internet Security (CIS), where she received a briefing about the cybersecurity threats specifically targeting state and local entities, and learned about the tools, resources, and services that CIS provides state and local entities to prepare for and respond to these threats. Additionally, Senator Hassan talked with CIS employees who were participating in an exercise that day designed to prepare participants for a major cyberattack. In 2019, Senator Hassan successfully led efforts to protect funding for this organization.


The Senator also visited AIM Photonics, a federally funded research and development center that is using an emerging technology, known as integrated photonics, that will be able to help shrink down the size of quantum devices to be more readily accessible outside of a research lab setting. Senator Hassan’s last stop of the trip, where she was joined by Congressman Brandon Williams (R-NY), was the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, which is focused on researching and developing new technologies to meet national and homeland security needs, such as secure quantum communications and technology to identify and counter malicious drones. The Air Force Research Laboratory also provides workforce development opportunities such as the Advance Course in Engineering Internship program.


Senator Hassan is leading efforts in Congress to invest in quantum information science research, which is critical to national security and the economy. Last year, the President signed into law Senator Hassan and Senator Rob Portman’s (R-OH) bipartisan Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, which strengthens national security by requiring the federal government to prepare for quantum-computing-enabled code breaking. Additionally, Senator Hassan and Senator John Thune’s (R-SD) measure to encourage quantum research efforts was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. Senator Hassan also previously joined the New Hampshire congressional delegation in announcing $2.76 million in federal funding for Dartmouth College to support its quantum genome mapping project.