For much the same reason that the U.S. Department of Defense is closely looking at how quantum technology can impact their activities, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has decided to also create programs that will enhance innovation and utilization in quantum technologies within all the NATO Allies. For defense purposes quantum impact can potentially have significant impact in areas including sensing, imaging, precise positioning, navigation and timing, improve the detection of submarines, and quantum safe cryptography. But quantum technology is also dual-use and potentially has many potential uses in applications such as climate change, human health, economics, and many other areas. The potential use cases span all areas of quantum tech including quantum computing, quantum communications, and quantum sensing.

To that end, NATO is putting together a strategy to foster a secure, resilient and competitive quantum ecosystem amongst the NATO allies that will cooperate together to understand technology development status, potential applications, and responsible use of quantum technologies. They are looking to create a Transatlantic Quantum Community to help keep track of the fast-paced developments in the field.

One associated development is NATO’s establishment last year of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) accelerator. This is a program designed to help Emerging Disruptive Technology (EDT) startups by providing them with grants, test centers, mentoring, investor introductions, and other resources to help them become successful. In December 2023, NATO announced their first cohort of 44 startups out of 1300 applicants that were accepted into this program. Of the 44 startups, 6 are companies working in the quantum field including Aquark Technologies, Qubitrium, LevelQuantum, g2-Zero, Phantom Photonics, and SECQAI.

Another potentially related development is the creation of the NATO Innovation Fund which is an independent venture capital firm backed by 23 NATO Allies that will be investing €1 billion in advanced science and technology driven enterprises including those enterprises working in quantum.

To see more about NATO’s work to help promote and accelerate quantum technology amongst it members, you can view a press release announcing the release of its strategy here and also a blog article that summarizes the 19 main points of the strategy here.

January 20, 2024