David Morgan, co-founder and vice president of operations at STS International, told Federal News Network in an interview published Tuesday about the importance of rare earth elements in the U.S. supply chain.
REE is “a critical component of the entire supply chain because it's the beginning, the nexus of what all of the electronics come from. So, if you don't have those, you can't build them,“ Morgan said.
He said China controls 95 percent of the supply and processing of REE, which could put the U.S. in a vulnerable position should conflict arise between the two countries.
Morgan also cited the commercial applications of REE. “Most people don't realize that rare earths are critical components of today's electronics both in consumer, commercial, and industrial applications. They do things like develop into magnets, into lasers, things like that, that are critical for us to use now in our everyday life,“ he said.
John Campbell, a retired Army general, discussed the dependence of military technologies on REE and agreed with Morgan that U.S. government leaders should address the national security issue associated with such elements.