National Initiatives in Quantum Technologies (as of April 2022)

As quantum technologies garner global attention, its economic and national security implications are positioning these set of technologies alongside AI and 5G as pivotal emerging technologies for the future. Governments worldwide are recognizing the strategic importance of quantum technologies, which broadly includes quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum sensing. To capitalize on quantum technologies, nations are launching strategic initiatives and creating regulatory frameworks to accelerate their development and adoption. Even though the field has been in development for decades in research labs, sensing that practical uses are nearing, the governments are all now in various ways trying to create the scientific-economic system that will help the industry transition from research labs to commercialization.

Quantum Technologies

As this blog is primarily focused on quantum computing, particularly its impact on cybersecurity, it’s useful to explain the wider field of quantum technologies. Quantum technologies encompass a group of emerging technologies that exploit the principles of quantum mechanics to achieve breakthroughs across various domains.

  • Quantum Sensing: Quantum sensing technologies harness the sensitivity of quantum systems to detect and measure minute changes in various physical properties. This capability holds the potential to revolutionize fields such as medical imaging, by improving the accuracy of diagnostic tools, and geophysics, by enhancing the precision of underground surveying techniques. Applications in navigation and radar systems could benefit from the heightened sensitivity of quantum sensors, offering a level of precision unattainable with current technology.
  • Quantum Communication: This aspect of quantum technology focuses on securing communication using the principles of quantum mechanics. Unlike traditional methods that transmit encrypted data as bits, quantum communication uses qubits that can exist simultaneously in multiple states, thereby enabling data to be transmitted in a superposition of states. This method theoretically ensures secure communication that is resistant to hacking, making it highly desirable for use in sensitive areas such as military, governmental, and financial communications.
  • Quantum Computing: Perhaps the most publicized, and most transformative, branch of quantum technologies, quantum computing promises computational power far beyond what is achievable with today’s classical computers. By leveraging the properties of quantum superposition and entanglement, quantum computers can perform a multitude of calculations at once, offering the potential to solve problems that are currently intractable. The impact of quantum computing could be profound, accelerating advancements in fields ranging from drug discovery to complex financial modeling.

United States

National Quantum Initiative Act

On December 21, 2018, the United States solidified its commitment to quantum technology advancement by enacting the H.R.6227 – National Quantum Initiative Act. Passed with near-unanimous support from both houses of Congress, this landmark legislation outlines a comprehensive 10-year plan aimed at maintaining and enhancing U.S. leadership in quantum technologies.

Key Provisions of the National Quantum Initiative Act:

  • Establishment of the National Quantum Coordination Office: Located within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, this office is tasked with overseeing interagency coordination, providing strategic planning support, serving as a central point for stakeholder contact, promoting outreach, and facilitating the commercialization of federally funded research.
  • Support for Quantum Research: The act significantly boosts funding and support across several federal agencies:
    • The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is supported to develop quantum measurement standards and technology.
    • The Department of Energy (DOE) is endorsed to conduct basic research and establish national quantum research centers.
    • The National Science Foundation (NSF) is encouraged to support fundamental quantum research and education through academic multidisciplinary centers.
  • Promotion of Private Sector Involvement: The legislation calls on U.S. high-tech companies and quantum technology startups to contribute their expertise to national efforts, addressing research gaps and enhancing the workforce pipeline to secure a long-term competitive advantage for the U.S.
  • Strategic Focus on Education and Workforce Development: The act emphasizes the importance of training a new generation of scientists and engineers in quantum technologies, aiming to power an economic and scientific revolution.
  • Coordination and International Cooperation: Under the aegis of the National Science and Technology Council, the Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science is empowered to coordinate quantum research and education across federal agencies, recommend infrastructure needs, and evaluate opportunities for collaboration with strategic allies.

National Security Memorandum on Promoting United States Leadership in Quantum Computing While Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Cryptographic Systems

On May 4, 2022, the White House issued a significant policy directive through the “National Security Memorandum on Promoting United States Leadership in Quantum Computing While Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Cryptographic Systems” or NSM-10. The memorandum highlights the urgency of developing quantum-resistant cryptographic systems to protect against potential threats posed by quantum computers, which could compromise current cryptographic defenses.

This policy initiative sets forth a comprehensive strategy that includes establishing a migration project to post-quantum cryptography at the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. This project will collaborate with the private sector to tackle the cybersecurity challenges posed by the transition to quantum-resistant cryptography. Additionally, the memorandum mandates regular engagements and reports concerning the risks quantum computers pose, emphasizing the need for an updated inventory of cryptographic systems across federal agencies.

Furthermore, the memorandum underscores the necessity for Federal agencies to update their cryptographic systems to withstand quantum computing threats, highlighting an integrated approach across governmental and private sectors to accelerate the adoption of secure cryptographic standards.

More specifically, the memorandum sets a target year of 2035 for the transition to quantum-resistant cryptographic systems. To facilitate this transition, the implementation of cryptographic agility frameworks is prioritized. Both the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Security Agency (NSA) are pivotal in this effort, tasked with developing and setting technical standards expected to be ratified by 2024. This section also outlines a comprehensive timeline for agency actions over the next year, with ongoing reporting obligations extending into the future.

Next section of the memorandum highlights the critical need to safeguard relevant quantum Research & Development (R&D) and intellectual property (IP) from potential threats such as cybercrime and theft. The U.S. government is committed to launching educational campaigns targeting various sectors including industry, academia, and state and local entities. These campaigns will focus on the risks associated with IP theft and the importance of adhering to stringent compliance measures, enhancing insider threat detection, and supporting federal law enforcement efforts.

By the end of 2022, agency heads involved with quantum information science (QIS) technologies are mandated to develop detailed technology protection plans. These plans, aimed at securing QIS R&D, technology acquisition, and user access, will be reviewed and updated annually. Reports on these plans will be submitted to high-level officials, including the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Co-Chairs of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Economic and Security Implications of Quantum Science.

These sections of the memorandum highlight a structured and long-term approach by the U.S. government to not only advance in the field of quantum computing but also to ensure that these advancements are secure, sustainable, and protected against any form of exploitation or threat.

European Union

Quantum Manifesto

The EU Quantum Manifesto, released in May 2016, shaped Europe’s direction in the development and implementation of quantum technologies. It emphasizes the necessity for Europe to establish leadership in quantum technologies, with a clear call to action for substantial investment and collaboration among member states, researchers, and industry stakeholders.

The manifesto outlines several key objectives:

  • Promoting and coordinating research and investment in quantum technologies across the EU to ensure a consolidated effort that spans basic research to commercial applications.
  • Developing infrastructure, such as quantum communication networks, that harnesses quantum mechanics for enhanced security and computational capabilities.
  • Encouraging education and training programs to build a skilled workforce capable of supporting and advancing quantum technology.

Additionally, the manifesto underscores the urgency of developing post-quantum cryptography to secure communications against the potential threat posed by quantum computers, which could compromise current cryptographic methods.

Quantum Technologies Flagship

On October 29, 2018, following the Quantum Manifesto, the European Commission officially kicked off its ambitious Quantum Technologies Flagship initiative, marking a significant step in Europe’s commitment to quantum technology development. The initiative, backed by the European Commission, allocates over €1 billion in funding to support more than 5,000 of Europe’s leading quantum technology researchers over the next decade.

The Flagship Initiative aims to facilitate breakthroughs in quantum technology through a comprehensive and coordinated research effort spanning various projects across the EU. This initiative is part of Europe’s strategic plan to become a global leader in the field of quantum technologies, enhancing innovation, security, and competitiveness in the digital age.

The funded projects under this initiative cover a broad spectrum of quantum technologies, from basic research to market-ready applications, ensuring a holistic approach to the development of quantum capabilities in Europe. The initiative not only focuses on advancing the state of the art in quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum sensing but also aims to address societal challenges through quantum technologies, ensuring Europe’s technological sovereignty in this critical field.


13th Five Year Special Plan for Science and Technology Military-Civil Fusion Development

Published in 2017, China’s 13th Five Year Special Plan for Science and Technology Military-Civil Fusion Development included quantum communication and computing among a list of priority strategic technologies. Quantum technologies, described by the authors as a “bolting dark horse” in the race for technological superiority, have been particularly highlighted by researchers from China’s Academy of Military Sciences as having the capacity to fundamentally alter future military strategies and outcomes. The unique and powerful capabilities of quantum technologies, especially in quantum computing, are poised to revolutionize fields that rely heavily on computational power and security.

14th Five Year Plan

In 2021, the Chinese government enshrined quantum technology into its latest national economic blueprint, the 14th Five Year Plan, listing it along with six other cutting-edge fields that should be prioritized in the coming years. Together with its “Made in China 2025” initiative these plans emphasize achieving “large breakthroughs” in quantum technologies through state-funded projects, including the development of national laboratories and innovation projects aimed at positioning China as a leader in the global technology market. The focus extends particularly to commercializing quantum communication technologies, quantum key distribution, and cold atom interferometry.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has outlined its quantum ambitions in the National Agenda for Quantum Technology, established in 2019. This agenda promotes collaboration between regulators, stakeholders, and universities to advance quantum technology through a national consortium.


Germany’s federal program “Quantum technologies – from basics to markets” sets forth goals to maintain and extend Germany’s prowess in quantum physics research and its application in industry. The program encourages the preparation for new economic opportunities and markets, highlighting the importance of developing international cooperation in quantum technology sectors.

United Kingdom

The UK launched the National Quantum Technologies Programme in 2014, aiming to transform the UK into a global leader in the development and commercialization of quantum technologies. A strategic intent outlined in 2020 aims to shape the next decade of the UK’s economic landscape through quantum technology advancements.


Canada’s National Quantum Strategy, supported by a substantial investment of 360 million CAD, is designed to enhance the nation’s leadership in the burgeoning quantum industry and develop the necessary workforce.


Australia’s National Quantum Strategy includes the establishment of a Quantum Commercialization Center to support the commercialization of quantum research and foster the development of quantum businesses.


The National Quantum-Safe Network in Singapore is set to deploy commercial technologies for testing in public and private sectors, focusing on evaluating safety systems and developing guidelines for quantum technology adoption.

South Korea

South Korea approved a Quantum Computing Development Plan in 2019, aiming to develop basic and advanced quantum computing technologies, including the creation of a 5-qubit computer by 2023.


The development of high quantum technologies is a strategic objective under the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation, aimed at achieving scientific and technological progress and enhancing national security.

These national strategies illustrate a clear trend: nations are not only recognizing the transformative potential of quantum technologies for economic and security domains but are also actively laying the groundwork to capitalize on these advanced technologies.

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