Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) warned constituents in an email Saturday that the U.S. military is dependent on minerals coming from China. Aderholt, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, recently questioned the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about this issue and more during an Appropriations Committee hearing.

“During a Defense Subcommittee hearing, we heard from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley about an issue I’ve been raising for the last few months: The U.S. is 100 percent reliant on an array of critical minerals,” Aderholt said. “Even more alarming, most of them are coming in from China, and I asked the Secretary about it here. We need to see our defense budget increase while making sure that we aren’t wastefully spending on far-left agendas within our armed services.”

On the question of the critical minerals supply issue, Austin said that he shared Aderholt’s concerns about reliance on strategic adversaries for these resources.

“You raise a very, very good point, sir. This is an issue that is very important to us,” Austin said in response to questioning by Aderholt. “We are concerned about making sure that we have the right capability with respect to micro-electronics, casting and forging, battery and energy storage, critical materials as you point out. We want to make sure that we have the right stockpiles in order to support our efforts. DoD is very concerned about this as part of the overall government’s effort. To your point, this is very, very important to us.”

A video of Aderholt’s question at the hearing is available online.

This issue first arose in 2017 when the U.S. Geological Survey issued a report showing that the U.S. is heavily dependent on China and Russia for rare earth minerals as well as platinum and manganese.

Many of these minerals were only of minor importance when the previous USGS report on this issue was released in 1973. The increasing use of advanced technologies has increased the demand for mineral commodities for nearly all elements in the periodic table, including some which are not currently being mined in the United States in significant quantities.

Robert Aderholt is serving in his thirteenth term in the Fourth Congressional District.

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