Enhance U.S. Rare Earth Security Through International Cooperation

commentary

Nov 3, 2022

The MP Materials rare earth open-pit mine in Mountain Pass, California,  January 30, 2020, photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters

The MP Materials rare earth open-pit mine in Mountain Pass, California, January 30, 2020

Photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters

A disinformation campaign targeted a company planning to build mineral processing facilities in Texas last summer. A Chinese cyber group called DragonBridge developed fake social media profiles and posted images of angry protestors calling on Texans to rally against a new rare earth element mining and processing plant to be built nearby.

That campaign failed, but it demonstrates some of the threats that will likely continue to affect the mineral supply chains in the United States and elsewhere. With closer multinational cooperation, the United States and its allies and partners could reduce vulnerabilities emanating from the dependency on China, and other potentially unstable mineral sources, and counter hybrid attacks on domestic production lines.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at defensenews.com.


Marta Kepe is a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation, where Fabian Villalobos is an associate engineer.