Congressman touts Rome Lab as he eyes Chinese forays into emerging field of quantum computing


Work done at the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, known as Rome Lab, was hailed by Rep. Anthony J. Brindisi, D-22, Utica at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Defense Department’s role in competing with China, his office said.

Brindisi, a committee member, questioned witnesses about China’s efforts to compete with America’s quantum technology research and referred to a new Quantum Information Science (QIS) Innovation Center that will be hosted at Rome Lab, his office said Wednesday.

The QIS Innovation Center for the lab was established in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with Brindisi securing $8 million for the center and an additional $5 million for quantum science research, his office noted.

“I am particularly concerned about DoD (Department of Defense) keeping pace with China in terms of our investments in information technologies—specifically quantum sciences,” said Brindisi, D-22, Utica. “It has been fairly well documented that information warfare is a core strength of the People’s Liberation Army and in recent years, China has aggressively invested and increased the pace of its quantum research.”

Brindisi added “The reason for my amendment to create a new QIS Innovation Center in this year’s NDAA was to foster...collaborative relationships in order to accelerate quantum research.”

In 2017, Rome Lab took a key step in its quantum research by becoming the first DoD lab to trap an ion, a major breakthrough in development of quantum capabilities for the Air Force, said Brindisi’s office.

Quantum research and technology development is being aggressively pursued by other countries, including China, who recognize the massive potential of quantum technologies, his office noted. Rome Lab’s efforts to develop quantum technologies has immense national security implications, and it is crucial that the U.S. does not fall behind its adversaries in that field, his office added.

Among witnesses testifying before the House Armed Services Committee: Michele Flournoy, co-founder and Managing Partner, West Exec Advisors, and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Andrew Philip Hunter, Director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, U.S. Navy (retired), Senior Fellow, CNA Strategic Studies.


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