The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

America’s War Machine Runs on Rare-Earth Magnets. China Owns That Market.

The American war machine depends on tiny bits of metal, some as small as dimes. Rare-earth magnets are needed for F-35 jet fighters, missile-guidance systems, Predator drones and nuclear submarines.

The problem: China makes most of the world’s rare-earth magnets, with 92% of the global market share.

Now, Washington is doling out hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and tax credits to revive magnet-making in America. Defense manufacturers are on a clock.

A U.S. law in 2018 restricted the use of made-in-China magnets in American military equipment, shriveling the list of potential suppliers to a small number in Japan and the West. By 2027, the curbs will extend to magnets made anywhere that contain materials mined or processed in China, covering nearly all of the current global supply.

After three decades of post-Cold War deindustrialization, rebuilding the industry—against China’s market heft—is an uphill battle, even with government help. Only one company in the U.S. is in production of the dominant type of rare-earth magnet.

“We’re not going to be able to simply flip a switch and get to where we want to be,” said Anthony Di Stasio, a senior U.S. defense official. “The only thing that you can really judge success on right now is how many positive ripples have you made from throwing the rock into the lake.”

he office Di Stasio runs in the Defense Department is diving into supply chains to invest in the pieces and parts that make the military work. Much of what they invest in is processing minerals and making metals, betting that regardless of how, for example, submarine technology evolves, the same building blocks will be needed.

“Let’s go as close to the dirt as we can so we know we’re still going to need it in 15 years,” said Di Stasio.

Read more at MSN

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.


© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.