The Defense Science Board is holding its closed-to-the-public "Spring Quarterly Meeting" today to discuss the classified findings of a "Quantum Task Force" along with "current and future defense challenges," according to a Federal Register notice published this morning.
"The first presentation will be from Dr. John Manferdelli and Dr. Robert Wisnieff, Co-Chairs of the DSB Task Force on Applications of Quantum Technologies (Quantum Task Force), who will provide a classified brief on the Quantum Task Force's findings and recommendations and engage in discussion with the DSB," the notice reads.
Quantum technologies was one of five key areas in emerging military technology the DSB was tasked to study in May 2017, but those efforts were paused following governmental reorganization from the presidential transition. The studies, which have been delayed by more than a year, were subsequently re-ordered in July 2018.
The studies, which in addition to quantum technologies included counter-autonomy, space resiliency, counterintelligence for "insider threats," and gaming, exercising, modeling and simulation, were originally ordered in May 2017 by James MacStravic, who was then-acting Pentagon acquisition executive.
However, before DSB task forces could begin work on those areas, the "sponsorship" of the board was transferred to Ellen Lord, a Trump administration official the Senate confirmed in August 2017 to serve as the next Pentagon acquisition executive, Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza, a DOD spokeswoman, said last July.
In the terms of reference memo for the quantum technologies study, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin wrote that such technologies "have shown increasing capabilities in metrology, sensing, communications, and computation. Increases in precision and sensitivity will extend the capability of existing systems and allow new types of measurements to be made. Quantum-based communication techniques have been developed for over 30 years and provide a means for secure communications in contested environments. Quantum computation and simulation have made significant progress in recent years. Understanding the state-of-the-art and the likely trajectory of these technologies will allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to strategically incorporate these technologies into its systems."
To that end, Griffin's memo tasked the DSB to answer the following questions:
"* What is the level of technology readiness of these technologies? What technological challenges do they face in order to be considered for DOD applications?
"* What is the level of research and development in these technologies in universities, Government laboratories and industries both domestically and in other countries?
"* Which technologies will be developed for commercial applications? Which areas will be applicable to primarily unique DOD applications? For DOD applications: will the technologies required for design, fabrication, testing, and use provide a persistent differentiation?
"* What are the ancillary technologies (refrigeration, filters, interconnect, packaging, specialized materials, etc.) required for implementation of these technologies?"
After voting today on the task force's findings and recommendations, Army Futures Command chief Gen. John Murray, National Intelligence Council Chairwoman Amy McAuliffe, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Robert Behler and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Lisa Porter will each provide classified briefings on their views of "current and future defense challenges," according to this morning's notice.