John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News.
Can the United States do anything to reverse a dangerous dependence on crucial mineral supplies that put our future military security in the hands of China? We may be about to find out.
The challenge to our future security was outlined in a grim, largely overlooked report from the U.S. Geological Survey. In stark terms, it demonstrated that the U.S. is 100 percent reliant on foreign producers for at least 20 elements and minerals, some of them of strategic importance to our military. The most common source: China.
As Bellwether noted last week, a group of 17 materials, known collectively as rare earths, are produced almost exclusively by China. That’s the country President Trump has labelled a currency manipulator and trade cheat and which he has vowed to bring to heel in future bilateral negotiations.
The USGS report, points out other metal deficiencies, and raises serious questions about how much leverage the U.S. will have over China. Almost all the minerals in question are essential components needed for advanced fighter bombers, satellite guided missiles and catapults that launch planes from the decks of aircraft carriers.
“That 2017 USGS report is not fake news,” says George Byers, a 40-year mining industry veteran and rare earth expert. “You have 29 or 30 studies on critical materials, including rare earths that go back to the early ‘90s. The outcome of each study is to declare ‘we have a crisis, let’s do something about it.’ But all they do about it, is to ask for another study.”
For the rest of this opinion column, click here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/02/08/have-national-security-crisis-lets-do-nothing.html