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Rare Earth Elements in National Defense

Contents

Introduction...................................................................................................................................... 1 Major New Developments............................................................................................................... 2

  • H.

    R. 1960, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2014 .................................... 2 Subtitle B—National Defense Stockpile............................................................................. 2 Directive Report Language ................................................................................................. 3

  • S.

    1197, NDAA for FY2014...................................................................................................... 6

  • S.

    1600, Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013........................................................................... 6

  • H.

    R. 761, National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013 ............................ 6

  • H.

    R. 981, RARE Act of 2013 .................................................................................................... 6

  • H.

    R. 1063, National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013.................................. 6

President Obama’s Announcement on the Joint World Trade Organization Dispute

Resolution Case on China ...................................................................................................... 7 2013 Annual Industrial Capabilities Report to Congress .......................................................... 8 2013 Strategic and Critical Materials Report on Stockpile Requirements ................................ 9 Department of Defense Report Responding to Section 843...................................................... 9

Background on Rare Earth Elements............................................................................................. 10

What Are Rare Earth Elements?.............................................................................................. 10 How Are Rare Earths Used in Defense Applications?............................................................. 10 How and Where Are Rare Earths Produced?........................................................................... 14 Supply Chain Issues ................................................................................................................ 15

Molycorp’s “Mine to Magnet” Vertical Integration Approach for Rebuilding the U.S. Rare Earth Supply Chain........................................................................................ 16 Selected Recent Supply Chain Developments .................................................................. 18 A Historical Perspective on the Potential Impact of Chinese Policies on Rare Earth

Materials ............................................................................................................................... 18 Are Rare Earths Critical Materials for U.S. Defense?............................................................. 20

Policy Issues for Congress............................................................................................................. 22

Dependence on Foreign Sources for Rare Earth Materials ..................................................... 22 Government Reports on Rare Earths....................................................................................... 23

GAO Report on the Rare Earth Supply Chain .................................................................. 23 Annual Industrial Capabilities Report to Congress........................................................... 23 U.S. Department of Energy Report on Critical Mineral Strategy ..................................... 24 Coordination of the Federal Approach to Rare Earths............................................................. 24 Absence of the Study of Rare Earth Application Sciences in Most U.S. Colleges and

Universities........................................................................................................................... 25

Options for Congress ..................................................................................................................... 25

Hearings on the DOD Report on the Assessment of the Rare Earth Materials Supply

Chain .................................................................................................................................... 26 Convene Defense Suppliers to Discuss Supply Chain Issues.................................................. 26 Convene the Strategic Materials Protection Board.................................................................. 26 Require Stockpiling of Specific Materials............................................................................... 27 Fund the Downstream Supply Capacity .................................................................................. 27 Fund Rare Earth Research....................................................................................................... 27 Institute a New Critical Minerals Program.............................................................................. 28 Develop Partnerships with Allies to Diversify the Supply Source.......................................... 28

Congressional Research Service

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