DISA Call for White Papers


Technologies, and technology-based companies, advance so rapidly that the Department of Defense is finding it difficult to contractually engage, collaborate, and do business with high-tech companies. The traditional procurement process is too slow and based on regulations rather than negotiations. The Government's cost-based pricing system is cumbersome and expensive requiring unique accounting and auditing systems. The Government's standard approach to intellectual property can be overreaching and inflexible. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is responding to this by exercising its authority under 10 U.S.C. 2371b, Other Transaction Agreements for Prototypes. DISA will periodically post Requests for White Papers inviting companies leading innovation to submit their solutions to the Agency's capability gaps, problem statements, or areas of interest.

Quantum-Resistance Cryptography Prototype

Due Date: June 14, 2019 by 9:00 AM CST

Project Number: DISA-OTA19-R-Quantum

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Emerging Technology (EM) Directorate through the DISA Procurement Services Directorate (PSD) is seeking information from Industry to evaluate the use of quantum-safe algorithms and cryptographic solutions that can defend Department of Defense (DoD) Information Technology (IT) infrastructure from malicious cyber activities.



One of the immediate concerns facing DoD has to do with public key cryptography data encryption. Theoretically, adversaries could utilize quantum computers to crack the code that is widely used for secure online transactions and communications. Certain algorithms currently utilized across the DoD on various systems are vulnerable to attacks from large-scale quantum computers. The exact time of the arrival of the quantum-computing era is unknown; however, DoD must begin now to prepare its information security systems to be able to resist attacks from large-scale quantum computers.

This request for White Paper (RWP) is being issued 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.


Arrival of the quantum-computing era is inevitable, though its timing is unknown. DoD must begin now to prepare its information security systems to protect against quantum computing attacks. One of the immediate concerns facing DoD has to do with Public key cryptography data encryption.

Due to growing concerns related to quantum computers-machines, DISA has begun to investigate quantum-resistant or quantum-safe cryptography algorithms and solutions. The goal of this prototype Other Transaction Authority (OTA) is to research, evaluate, test, and deliver a prototype utilizing cryptographic algorithms and solutions that would secure DoD IT systems against both quantum and classical computers.

The Quantum-Resistant Cryptography prototype 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;
  • 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.

Download the Request for White Papers [PDF]

About DISA

The Defense Information Systems Agency, known as the Defense Communications Agency until 1991, is a United States Department of Defense combat support agency composed of military, federal civilians, and contractors. DISA's mission is to conduct DODIN operations for the joint warfighter to enable lethality across all warfighting domains in defense of our Nation. DISA is the trusted provider to connect and protect the warfighter in cyberspace. Visit https://www.disa.mil to learn more.

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