Sullivan’s Critical Minerals Provisions Included in FY 2021 NDAA

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and chairman of Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, last week successfully included two key amendments in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to address the United States’ rising dependence on China and other foreign countries for minerals and metals that are critical for virtually all modern technology, including critical strategic defense technologies. These provisions set forth U.S. policies to achieve ambitious 10-year critical mineral goals and would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to produce a study on U.S. defense critical mineral needs. The FY 2021 NDAA was passed out of SASC on June 11.


“Due to supply chain deficiencies of our own making, the United States finds itself heavily reliant on China for the majority of processing and manufacturing of minerals critical to our national security,” said Senator Sullivan. “China has not hesitated to wield its manufacturing capabilities as a weapon in the past, and the U.S. needs to take this threat seriously. While China has a near monopoly on these minerals, they only hold a small portion of the worldwide resources available. Now is the time to strengthen our domestic supply chains and make use of our already-available domestic resources, particularly in resource-rich and environmentally-conscientious states, like Alaska.”


  • Critical Minerals Statement of Policy: This provision reinforces and strengthens the current critical mineral policies of the United States and sets reasonable goals to decrease America’s dependence on China and other countries. Specifically, the amendment states as official federal policy that by 2030, the U.S. should fully meet the critical mineral demands of the domestic defense industrial base, and the DOD should eliminate U.S. dependence on the unsecure sources of strategic minerals and metals. This provision also encourages providing incentives for the defense industrial base to develop robust processing and manufacturing and the further use of tools like the Defense Production Act Title III program and the National Defense Stockpile.


  • DOD Critical Minerals Report: This provision requires a study on strategic and critical minerals and metals utilized by the DOD and an assessment of vulnerabilities in U.S. supply chains for these minerals. Additionally, the report would evaluate domestic processing and manufacturing opportunities to include identifying domestic locations that already have large supplies of strategic and critical minerals and metals with existing commercial manufacturing interest.


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