The Department of Defense (DoD) has proposed a measure that seeks to advance direct investments to end the country’s dependence on China for rare earth elements used to produce munitions, hypersonic systems, missiles and other weapons systems, Defense News reported Monday.
The proposed bill would increase spending caps under the Defense Production Act to allow DoD to allocate up to $1.75B in funds for rare earth minerals for use in missiles and munitions and up to $350 million for microelectronics.
The Pentagon proposed the legislation, which would also remove spending caps involving hypersonic weapons, in early May for inclusion in the annual defense spending bill.
“China is currently the sole source or primary supplier for many chemicals required to make ingredients in missiles and munitions end items,” the DoD measure states. “A sudden and catastrophic loss of supply due to restrictions from foreign suppliers, industrial accidents, natural disasters, or wartime damages would impact critical DoD programs for many years and severely disrupt DoD munitions, satellites, space launches, and other defense manufacturing programs.”