Brandon Tirpak, Asian Metal
Washington, DC-based J.A. Green and Company announced that it will form an advisory council consisting of industry experts and senior US defense leaders. The council will work to identify risks affecting the current supply chain of strategic materials, such as rare earths, in regard to the United States’ defense strategy with the ability to include other sectors, such as energy and the environment, in the future.
The goals of the group will be to identify strategic and critical materials, inform the US government, industry participants and public sector about these materials, produce policy recommendations and promote a mentality and perspective with public and private leaders to address risk with the current supply chain. At present, just over 95% of the world’s supply of rare earths is produced within China. The country, however, has made strides over the last two years in order to consolidate the industry, reduce exports and mitigate illegal mining in order to reduce environmental degradation associated with the production of these products.
“The whole idea is to put together highly credible senior leaders that understand strategic materials. We are a national security focused group to start, but likely to expand into other sectors,” Jeff Green, President of J.A. Green and Company, reported to Asian Metal. “We are targeting people with a deep understanding of supply chain and logistics.”
In mid-2011, amid speculation that China could further reduce H2, 2011 export quotas, rates for the materials skyrocketed, causing panic among consumers. With prices peaking at historical highs in July of last year, many consumers reduced their consumption and began to consume inventories, with this market attitude persisting in 2012. With applications ranging from lasers to missile guidance systems, much concern surrounds the United States’ strategy to address supply disruption, particularly when 95% is sourced from a single producing nation. According to Green, the greatest threat facing the United States’ supply is its lack of a clear and consistent government policy to identify and mitigate risk.
“Typically the Defense Department looks has a top-down approach at strategic materials. This council brings the bottom-up perspective to look at policies for the departments and allows us to recognize risk. It is an advisory group, not a lobbying group,” Green added. “Should anyone from congress want information, we are able to meet, discuss and even present. Each member of the council has a very important role to play in helping the US government form policy on these specific issues.”