This week, the United States government announced that Boeing, a major federal contractor, will replace the U.S. Air Force’s presidential fleet, “citing a need for an upgrade.” While this partnership shows promise for domestic manufacturing, we must keep in mind the need to domestically source minerals necessary for the manufacturing of these two planes.
Minerals are among the most important components that make up the technologies protecting our nation and our president. From the aluminum necessary to the structure of the aircrafts to the rare earth minerals that are critical to the satellite communication and radar systems in these planes, minerals are critical to the makeup of Air Force One. However, despite having our own rich supply of mineral resources, the United States is 100 percent important reliant on 19 key minerals that are needed for many of these technologies. And more specifically, the Department of Defense’s 2013 Strategic and Critical Materials Report showed that the U.S. faces shortfalls of 23 minerals crucial to national security, making the U.S. dependent on foreign countries for these resources.
In a 2013 op-ed in Defense News, National Mining Association’s president and CEO, Hal Quinn puts it best:
“The United States cannot remain at the mercy of foreign governments for key security minerals and continue to jeopardize its strategic autonomy…For the US, a stable and robust mineral supply is, and will continue to be, a strong pillar supporting the nation’s global competitiveness, a key driver of its technological prowess and the foundation of countless national defenses. Allies and competitors alike have enacted policies to address minerals security, and it’s time for the United States to do the same.”
To best protect our president and respond to threats from around the world at a moment’s notice, the United States needs a steady supply chain of minerals. We need our leaders to create policies that enable the United States to be more self-reliant and less dependent on foreign minerals to meet our own defense needs. Are you with us? Sign up here.
To learn more about the partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Boeing, continue reading here.