Pentagon Seeks to Strengthen its Information Technology Infrastructure Against Quantum Computing

May 31, 2019

The Pentagon is soliciting advice from security experts on how to keep the Pentagon’s information technology infrastructure safe from quantum computers. The Defense Information Systems Agency located at the Pentagon seeks white papers to conduct research, development, and testing activities associated with evaluating Quantum-Resistant algorithms, and cryptographic solution that can be used to enable quantum-encrypted information transfer using symmetric encryption.

Currently, the Pentagon uses a public-key encryption system to mask data and online activity on its networks from harmful activity. To do this, is uses algorithms to generate complex digital “keys”, which allow network uses to access encrypted information. However, with quantum computing on the rise, the Pentagon has turned its concern to implementing a prototype utilizing cryptographic algorithms to protect its IT program network.

To do so, DISA seeks a Quantum-Resistant Cryptography prototype that will support the following:

  • Future improvements, technical feasibility, and optional challenges associated with implementing new algorithms and solutions on the current DoD PKI/PKE components, technology, and processes; Quantum-Resistance Cryptography Prototype Request for White Papers Project Number: DISA-OTA19-R-Quantum Page 3 of 22;
  • Time to generate Public Key, Ciphertext, and Signature Size (i.e., key size) locally on DoD devices;
  • The hardware and software efficiency of the public key (encryption, encapsulation, and signature verification) and private key (decryption, decapsulation, and signing) operations dealing with traffic volume;
  • Decryption/decapsulation failures associated with application utilization and identify interactive protocols that establish key failures;
  • Performance test results to contribute to the national discussion and build a case to recommend an algorithms and possible solutions to use as the industry standard.

All responses are due by 9am CST on June 14. The full solicitation is available at: https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=95f46419bef0eb24a69e15771e722cb2&tab=core&tabmode=list&