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Amidst Growing Geopolitical Tensions, DoD Aims to Release First-Ever National Defense Industrial Strategy

As geopolitical tensions surge across the globe, the Pentagon is kicking its efforts to shore up the defense industrial base into high gear.  Speaking at the 2023 Defense Conference, Laura Taylor-Kale, Assistant Secretary of Defense for industrial Base Policy, said the U.S. Department of Defense hopes to release its first-ever National Defense Industrial Strategy and subsequent DoD implementation plan in December. The strategy’s goal is to create a “clear road map for how the department will prioritize and modernize the U.S. industrial base.”

According to Taylor-Kale, the key areas of the strategy are:

  • Creating resilient supply chains
  • Having an industrial base that can produce capabilities, services and technologies that are needed at speed, scale and cost
  • Ensuring workforce readiness and development
  • Delivering flexible acquisitions
  • Building in metrics for measurable outcomes

Taylor-Kale stressed DoD’s emphasis on partnerships in an effort to “attract new, innovative, non-traditional companies into the industrial base, particularly those that connect dual-use technologies with the emerging needs of the warfighter.”  

As followers of ARPN well know, critical minerals are integral components of 21st century military technology, and DoD has taken significant steps to bolster supplies of the metals and minerals needed to create and sustain a “modern defense industrial ecosystem” in recent months. A key vehicle to do so has been Title III of the Defense Production Act (DPA) (see ARPN’s coverage of DPA funding awards here and here). 

Taylor-Kale has emphasized DoD’s focus on securing domestic mineral resource supply chains in these funding announcements, stating, for example that

“[i]n investing in domestic (…) resources, Industrial Base Policy is building a sustainable, responsible industrial base capable of meeting our future national defense challenges.  Investments such as these execute President Biden’s focus on strengthening supply chains for critical minerals for large capacity batteries and are one step in the Defense Department’s strategy for minerals and materials related to batteries.”

ARPN will be watching to see whether critical mineral supply chains will be afforded their own separate chapter in the strategy, guided by our credo that the first word in supply chain is… supply.