FY 2023 Defense Investment in Quantum Information Science

Published: September 28, 2022

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The DOD requests more than $700M for quantum computing-related R&D.

Although still largely theoretical in nature, quantum computing, often called quantum information science (QIS), is expected to change the game for computing in the future. Quantum computers are projected to be faster than traditional computers by magnitudes of order, presenting a multitude of opportunities and challenges. These include the advent of quantum-based encryption to secure data and the beginning of quantum-based hacking that can quickly defeat all currently existing data security protocols

QIS is also wrapped up in great power competition as China and the U.S. race to develop functioning quantum computers. The challenge from China has in recent years prompted the federal government to increase its investment in QIS. This is happening at the research-focused agencies in the civilian sector and in the research and development (R&D) agencies and offices of the Department of Defense (DOD).

Today’s post summarizes the identifiable QIS R&D investments proposed in the DOD’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) and Procurement budget requests for fiscal year 2023.

Total Requested QIS Budgets

Back in FY 2021, the DOD’s QIS-related investment reached a new high of $759M. 

Requesting 7.4% more than in FY 2022 for R&D programs with a quantum-related component, the DOD’s total FY 2023 request for QIS remains well above $700M. This level of investment is significant, indicating the seriousness of the DOD’s intent to push forward with QIS development.

Almost all ($652M) of the FY 2023 quantum-related budget request falls under RDT&E. In addition, the DOD’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE) requested $58M.

Requested QIS Budgets by Defense Organization

Breaking down the DOD’s FY 2023 request for QIS-related programs yields the following insight.

The Navy’s budget-leading request to fund quantum-related programs continues a trend of seeking more than $300M per year for R&D work on the technology. Meanwhile, the top FY 2023 Navy programs by budget request are the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative ($63M) and  Mathematics, Computer, and Information Sciences ($62M) program.

Not surprisingly given the experimental nature of QIS, most of the investment in the 4th Estate is centered in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA has a number of QIS programs underway, but the ones with the highest budgets are Math and Computer Sciences ($44M) and Alternative Computing ($28M).

The Air Force is also pursuing QIS R&D with proposed investments of $44M in the Complex Electronics and Fundamental Quantum Processes program and $12M in funding for Materials for Electronics, Optics, and Survivability.

Not to be left out, the Army’s highest budget QIS program is Basic Research in Physics ($13M). Additionally, the Army is also requesting $12M for Basic Research in Network Sciences and $11M for quantum-augmented Assured Positioning Navigation and Timing Communications Advanced Technology.