‘Unacceptable’: GOP Reps, Defense Experts Raise Red Flags Over Pentagon’s Reliance On China For Critical Minerals
Congress and defense experts warned that reliance on China, including for critical mineral processing, is undermining defense companies’ ability to produce the weapons the Pentagon asks for at a hearing on Wednesday.
The defense industrial base — firms that make weapons and equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) — have struggled to overcome deepening supply chain setbacks that grew more severe during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, China is not only rapidly modernizing its own military but dominating critical supply chains the U.S. weapons industry depends on to meet the Pentagon’s demands, lawmakers and industry representatives said Wednesday.
“Today, there is a mismatch between what our national strategies aim to achieve and how our defense industrial base is postured,” David Norquist, president of the National Defense Industrial Association, said in his opening statement. “Key industrial readiness indicators for great power competition are going in the wrong direction.”
A recent report showed that the U.S. was almost completely reliant on China for antimony, used in a variety of military applications including night vision goggles, armor-piercing bullets, explosives and nuclear weapons. The committee moved to investigate U.S. antimony supplies and require a five-year risk outlook for other critical minerals.
“We found ourselves where we were relying on China for those minerals over many years, giving up our capacity and our ability to do that,” Eric Fanning, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, told the committee, referring to reshoring critical mineral production and processing capabilities.
Committee Chairman Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama asked the witnesses to provide recommendations on what Congress can do in the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act to build processing capacity on U.S. soil.
“It is completely unacceptable that we are so heavily reliant on China for those minerals as well as their processing,” Rogers said.
China is the world’s largest exporter of so-called “rare earth minerals,” like lithium and polysilicon, that form the backbone of key technologies, according to a 2021 International Atomic Energy Agency report.
Fanning said the largest defense companies have communicated with the Pentagon to share supply chain concerns in relation to China.
Most of the critical minerals needed to support the defense industrial base exist in the U.S., he added.
“The problem is us. We’re schizophrenic,” said Republican Florida Rep. Carlos Gimenez. Armed Services members pressure companies to access those minerals domestically while Congress orders other federal government entities, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, to sequester public lands, he added.
China is “undercutting out industrial capacity” to undermine U.S. production abilities in time of conflict, said Gimenez.
Fanning acknowledged the need to disrupt China’s market dominance in critical minerals but cited concerns over expense and the environmental impact of processing.
In addition, China has exported its rare earths processing industry to other countries, often in a way that fuels environmental damage and worker abuse.
“There isn’t necessarily a market for that capability to grow organically,” Fanning said. The government needs to develop a “sense of urgency” and invest taxpayer funds in domestic mineral production and processing, he added.
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Our own President is compromised by the tens of millions he and his son Hunter made from China when he was VP. Now he sells our Strategic Oil Reserves to China in a move that clearly should have been illegal. But there’s a lot more in relation to China that should be banned. Tic Tok needs to be banned as they are nothing but a Chinese intelligence gathering operation and hidden propaganda platform. China needs to be banned from buying U.S. companies or buying any real estate in the U.S.. Most people don’t realize that even though China has the appearance of allowing some free enterprise, all Chinese companies are bound, by law, to allegiance to the CCP and are even required to spy for them if asked.
90% of the computer chips in the world are produced either in China or Taiwan and everything manufactured today depends on computer chips to function; of course all of our military equipment and even your refrigerator and dishwasher. 90% of our antibiotics and pharmaceutical ingredients come from China. Almost all of our solar panels come from China as well as many of the rare earth minerals that are needed to produce batteries for electric cars and components for our military equipment. They steal our intellectual property with near impunity to copy our advanced military hardware and software and now have hypersonic missiles that we don’t even have. Their Army dwarves ours and even their Navy is now bigger. They are watching our military go “woke” painting rainbow bullets on Marine helmets in recruiting ads and rolling on the ground laughing. They are funding and supplying infrastructure everywhere in the world (especially in South America) to embed themselves in countries around the world and make them dependent while we waste all our capital on useless regime change wars.
Most of our debt is owned by China and they are allowed to buy American companies at will. They now own the biggest pork producer in America (formerly Smithfield Ham) and are buying up as much U.S. property as they desire, even near our military bases. Then there’s the 350,00 Chinese students in our universities (all taking STEM courses and not majoring in “Gender studies”) many of whom will end up being employed by defense contractors or in hi tech companies where they will end up spying for the CCP. Biden bows to China and won’t even dare to speak against them, much less take any actions against them. He even lets their spy balloon flay all the way across the country before shooting it down because of public outrage. Most of our international companies (Coke, Disney, Nike, Hollywood and even the NBA) are also compromised by China because they are blinded by the potential billions of consumers there vs. a mere 330 million here. China even controls what American companies can say and censor and threaten them if they critique China in any way. The Chinese ultimate plan is world domination and we should take that seriously. Unless we wake up, we will likely cede our great grandchildren’s future to them and they better start learning Mandarin.