U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) have announced that the Senate has passed their bipartisan Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act to strengthen national security by preparing the federal government’s defenses against quantum-computing-enabled data breaches.
As quantum computers, including those being developed by the United States’ adversaries, continue to get more powerful and more widely available, federal agencies must proactively work to ensure that federal cybersecurity protections remain up to date. The bipartisan companion bill in the House was introduced by Representatives Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Ro Khanna (D-CA).
“Quantum computing will provide for huge advances in computing power, but it will also create new cybersecurity challenges,” said Ranking Member Portman. “I’m pleased the Senate passed our bipartisan legislation to require the government to inventory its cryptographic systems, determine which are most at risk from quantum computing, and upgrade those systems accordingly.”
“Data breaches exploited by quantum computing are a serious national security concern. America’s adversaries look for any vulnerabilities in our cybersecurity systems in order to threaten our infrastructure, data, and security,” said Senator Hassan. “It is crucial that we are ready to defend against any adversaries using this incredibly sophisticated and emerging technology against our country. Protecting our homeland security is a bipartisan issue – I am pleased that the Senate passed our bill and I’ll keep working to get this across the finish line.”
“Not only should our country lead the world in the research and development of quantum tech, but we should also lead the way in post-quantum cybersecurity standards across the government,” said Rep. Mace. “The passage of this bill is a crucial step forward in securing our nation from the threats of the future and readying ourselves for this leap in technology.”
“As quantum computing advances, we need to take steps to protect the personal data of Americans as well as U.S. national security and government agencies data,” said Rep. Khanna. “I’m thrilled that the Senate has passed this bill to proactively keep our systems and valuable data safe and establish Congress’ oversight role in the process.”
The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act would:
- Require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prioritize the acquisition and migration of federal agencies’ information technology to post-quantum cryptography;
- Instruct OMB to create guidance for federal agencies to assess critical systems one year after the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issues planned post-quantum cryptography standards;
- Direct OMB to send an annual report to Congress that includes a strategy on how to address post-quantum cryptography risks, the funding that might be necessary, and an analysis on whole-of-government coordination and migration to post-quantum cryptography standards and information technology.