Emerging and Disruptive Technologies

Emerging and disruptive technologies will transform arms control and verification. Many of these new technologies have multiple utilities and will both offer opportunities and create new risks and challenges for arms control. The Verification Programme has several ongoing initiatives, projects and publications addressing these questions.

Current Projects:

The Impact of Quantum Technologies on Verification and Arms Control

Quantum computing, simulations, communication, cryptography, sensing and metrology are all emerging technologies which are expected to have a significant impact on international security.

Protecting secure data regarding arms control and non-proliferation will be a challenge. Post-quantum cryptography will need to replace current encryption systems which will be vulnerable in future if a cryptographically-relevant quantum computer (CRQC) is developed. Quantum sensing and metrology could lead to the development of new sensors and novel approaches to verification and monitoring. Moreover, quantum simulation may enable powerful chemical and biological modelling, causing additional challenges for WMD risk reduction.

VERTIC is researching the technology readiness levels of several quantum technologies, the states or organisations leading development, technical challenges that must be overcome to achieve utility, and predicted timelines for seminal achievements such as universal error correction or a CRQC. Further, VERTIC is seeking to understand how the maturity of these technologies can inform countermeasures, and whether the predicted disruptive impact of quantum technology has been overhyped.

VERTIC is currently conducting desk-based research and expert elicitation on these topics, which will be consolidated into a report with recommendations for policymakers and future government-directed research.

Project Partners

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies


This work is funded by the US Department of State