WASHINGTON--(Strategic Materials Advisory Council today cautioned the Department of Defense to avoid the risky mitigation strategy of stockpiling strategic and critical materials from China. The Department of Defense recently completed its biannual “Strategic and Critical Materials 2013 Report on Stockpile Requirements,” which recommended stockpiling $120.43 million of heavy rare earth elements — materials produced only in China.)--The
“Strategic and Critical Materials 2013 Report on Stockpile Requirements”
“The root cause of these material shortages is our ongoing dependence on Chinese suppliers,” said Council Executive Director Jeff Green. “While it is encouraging that DoD acknowledges these risks, we urge DoD to move from theoretical studies to the only appropriate and permanent solution — the creation and nurturing of a U.S. based rare earth supply chain.”
This rare earth stockpile recommendation represents over one-third of a $319.74 million stockpiling plan to mitigate a $1.2 billion shortfall of 23 strategic and critical materials. This encouraging recommendation contrasts dramatically with previous Department of Defense assessments that asserted domestic sources could meet all military requirements by 2013, except for yttrium, and that substitution would be a viable approach to risk mitigation for heavy rare earths.
Green added, “It is equally encouraging that the Department is acknowledging the increased acquisition cost and engineering challenges posed by substitution strategies. However the U.S. must not rely on research projects and substitution alone to close the current supply gap. Furthermore, it must not accept the status quo of material and technological dependence on China. Instead, it is incumbent upon the Department to engage the industrial base domestically, and from U.S. allies, to achieve sustainable heavy rare earth development for defense and essential civilian requirements.”
The Strategic Materials Advisory Council urges the Department of Defense and the Obama Administration to evaluate its current policies and to take meaningful action to develop a secure supply chain of rare earths and other critical materials. The Council will continue to raise awareness of these issues and work to promote effective policy for the defense industrial base.
About the Council
The Strategic Materials Advisory Council is a Washington, DC based non-profit organization comprised of former U.S. Government leaders and industry experts with significant experience with strategic and critical materials through decades of service in the public and private sector. The Council was formed with the clear objective to promote policy solutions that ensure continued access of both U.S. industry and military to those materials needed to support a robust 21st century economy and military.