Rare Earth Elements in National Defense
national security and to develop a plan to address any supply chain vulnerabilities.76 Other legislative provisions are listed below.
H.R. 4866, the Rare Earths Supply-Chain Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2010
On March 17, 2010, Representative Mike Coffman introduced the Rare Earths Supply-Chain Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2010 (RESTART). The bill was referred to three committees: the House Armed Services Committee, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, and the House Financial Services Committee.
The bill sought to create a new interagency initiative on rare earth supply chain issues. H.R. 4866 would have established a federal government-wide interagency working group, at the Assistant Secretary level, from the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, the Interior, and State, with participants from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The working group would have assessed the rare earth supply chain to determine which rare earths were critical to national and economic security. Based on a critical designation, rare earth elements would have been stockpiled by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) as part of the National Defense Stockpile. The DLA would have made, if necessary, a commitment to purchase rare earth raw materials for processing and refining, including purchases from China. Stockpiling would have been terminated when the working group agencies determined that rare earths were no longer critical to U.S. national security or economic well- being. 77
H.R. 6160, the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act of 2010
On September 22, 2010, Representative Kathleen Dahlkemper introduced the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act of 2010. The bill sought to develop a rare earth materials program and amend the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980. If enacted, the bill would have provided for loan guarantees to revitalize domestic
76 It should be pointed out that much of the language of the RESTART Act, proposed by Representative Mike Coffman, was included as an amendment to the FY2011 Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed in the House on May 28, 2010, during the 111th Congress.
77 The bill directs the Secretaries of Commerce, of Defense, of Energy, of the Interior, and of State to (1) appoint an Executive Agent, at the Assistant Secretary level, to serve as a representative on an interagency working group to reestablish a competitive domestic rare earth supply chain, and (2) assess and report to Congress on the chain, determining which rare earth elements are critical to national and economic security. It directs the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy also to appoint representation to such working group. It requires the Secretary of Defense to commence procurement of critical rare earth materials and place them in a national stockpile, and the Defense Logistics Agency, Defense National Stockpile Center, to serve as administrator of the stockpile. It authorizes the administrator, if necessary to meet U.S. national security and economic needs, to purchase rare earth materials from the People’s Republic of China. It instructs the USTR to (1) initiate and report to Congress on a comprehensive review of international trade practices in the rare earth materials market; or (2) initiate an action before the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a result of the review. It directs the Secretaries of Commerce, of the Interior, and of State to report to the domestic rare earth industry about mechanisms for obtaining government loan guarantees to reestablish a domestic rare earth supply chain. It directs the Secretaries of Defense and of Energy to issue guidance for the industry related to obtaining such loan guarantees. It expresses the sense of the Congress regarding a prioritization of Defense Production Act projects with respect to the domestic rare earth supply chain.
Congressional Research Service