Depending on China and Russia for key minerals could lead to a national security crisis – by Jeff A. Green (The Hill – February 28, 2018)

U.S. intelligence officials warned Congress last week that China poses a major security threat to the United States. Speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that China is seeking to undermine America’s military, economic, cultural, and information power across the globe and urged Congress to view China as a “whole-of-society threat.”

A major contributor to China’s rising power, and one of its primary trade weapons, is its near-monopoly over several minerals and materials that the United States military relies on to maintain its technological edge.

In recognition of such high stakes, the administration has made producing and manufacturing domestic supplies of minerals a national security priority over the past year.

The White House has issued three executive orders aimed at maximizing the federal government’s use of materials produced in the United States, identifying weaknesses in domestic supply chains, and reducing reliance on foreign sources for critical minerals.

These executive orders are the start of a comprehensive, long-term policy for ensuring a steady supply of domestic critical materials, but congressional effort is still needed in order to reverse decades of inaction on the issue.

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