In a recent opinion piece for Politico, Brigadier General John Adams (U.S. Army, ret.) author of “Remaking American Security” and President of Guardian Six Consulting, and Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, zero in on the national security implications of our mineral dependencies.
Citing Hellfire missiles and night vision goggles as examples, as well as high-tech magnets required for the manufacture of military-grade vehicles, aircrafts or naval vessels, as examples, the authors point out that we have “serious gaps in our armor,” as the United States’ “security and our ability to develop future battlefield capabilities are dependent on potentially unreliable supplier nations who might not have our best interests at heart in a crisis situation.”
Adams and Paul lament that “we’ve allowed our nation’s defense industrial base – the private companies that make all of our weapons, vehicles, and essential military hardware—to weaken in lockstep with the wider manufacturing sector.” Concluding, they outline some steps they feel should be taken to alleviate the problem, including stockpiling, enforcing and reviewing DoD’s sourcing preferences, strengthening cooperation between government agencies and the private sector, and investing in high-tech industries.
The authors’ conclusion that “we must address the vulnerabilities in our military supply chain and fill in our defensive gaps,” because “nothing less than our national security is at stake, is consistent with our findings from our 2012 study “Reviewing Risk – Critical Metals and National Security,” in which we outlined the extent of the United States’ overreliance on foreign supplies of critical minerals.
Considering that for 87% of the metals and minerals on our American Resources Risk Pyramid in our report, domestic resources exist – maximizing our mineral resource potential by developing these mineral riches should be a part of any solution to this problem.