In a detailed letter to Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. John G. “Jerry” McGinn, Katie Sweeney, General Counsel of the National Mining Association, urges the Department of Defense to “acknowledge the importance of domestic metals and minerals to meet our defense needs” as the agency moves forward to implement Executive Order 13806, “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.”
The Executive Order, which, as ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty recently outlined in a commentary for Investor’s Business Daily, ties into the context of a growing threat level to U.S. national security as flash points involving Russia, China, Iran and North Korea continue to flare. It seeks to address the question of whether our defense forces are “prepared to deter war, defend U.S. interests and defeat adversaries if necessary,” and requires agency heads of various cabinet departments to report to the President policy recommendations for strengthening the U.S. defense industrial base by next April.
As Ms. Sweeney aptly states in her letter, “[t]he focus on our nation’s manufacturing and defense industrial base and supply chain resiliency is more important than ever and long overdue.”
While commending that the Executive Order acknowledges the “very real concern” of losing American manufacturing capabilities, she places a particular emphasis on the issue of the “further deterioration of domestic metal and mineral supply chains.”
Providing specific examples of the usage of a broad rage of metals in a variety of defense applications, Sweeney draws attention to the fact that the United States is “at a record high for dependence o foreign sources of minerals,” and that the U.S. “despite the strategic importance of minerals and metals to our national security,” ranks behind China, Russia, Chile and South Africa in mineral production.
The underlying issues, according to Sweeney, will sound familiar to followers of ARPN:
“Many of the minerals and metals the DoD has deemed strategic and critical remain locked underground – inaccessible for military use – because of duplicative, inefficient permitting processes, limitations on lad access, and unnecessarily burdensome and harmful regulation so that stifle investment in new and existing mines in the United States and prevent the domestic mining industry from reaching its full potential.”
The whole letter, which also highlights the importance of the correlation between Gateway Metals and Co-Products which ARPN has consistently pointed to, and discusses remedies to our mineral resource woes is well worth a read. You can read it here.
True defense readiness, which, as ARPN’s McGroarty has argued, “has long been a key bulwark of American strength,” starts at home — with the metals and minerals we are blessed to have beneath our own soil.