Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.
The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

DOD Near Completion of Report on Military’s Use of Rare Earth Minerals

Department of Defense officials are expected to sign off as early as this week on a report detailing just how dependent the U.S. military is on rare earth

Elisa Mueller
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Oct 21, 2010

Department of Defense officials are expected to sign off as early as this week on a report detailing just how dependent the U.S. military is on rare earth minerals. While the report has been in the works for over a year (it was required by Congress), it comes as rare earth minerals have become a major sticking point in U.S. trade relations with China.

Yesterday, The New York Times reported that China is blocking shipments of rare earth minerals to the United States. Though China has said the report is false, it still underscores U.S. vulnerability to Chinese trade decisions. This all comes as the Obama administration is investigating China’s green technology trade policies. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is looking into a lengthy petition by the United Steelworkers that accuses China of violating World Trade Organization rules by unfairly subsidizing exports of clean energy technology and controlling its rare earth minerals supplies.

Rare earth minerals, or rare earth elements, are essential components of scores of important products, including wind turbines, hybrid vehicles and cell phones. China has worked over the last two decades to develop its rare earth minerals, and now much of the world is dependent on the country for the vital resources. China currently produces 97 percent of the world’s rare earth minerals.

Rare earth minerals are also components of key technologies used by the military, including in communications equipment and smart bombs. But the U.S. military has never undertaken a comprehensive inventory of how reliant it is on rare earth minerals. The survey is now finished, and is currently being reviewed by key military officials, DOD spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said.

Christine Parthemore, a fellow at the Center for New American Security, said the DOD review was essential because the U.S. military has very little sense of how much it relies on rare earth minerals.

“In defense equipment, because stuff is manufactured by the private sector, and [the private sector] is not involved in the end-use of these products. … There’s sort of a detachment of information that happens,” Parthemore said, explaining that the U.S. military is often not privy to suppliers’ use of rare earth minerals because it is considered proprietary information.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.


$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

Ten Loopholes That Can’t Make It Into FinReg

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, wrote a blog post that lists the loopholes lobbyists most want inserted into Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.)

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2022 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |

Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.