I want to talk to you about our supply chains, and how the story of their vulnerabilities continues. Last week, it came out that every single one of our F-35 jets – our 5th generation and most advanced fighter – contain a Chinese-made metal alloy whose use is prohibited by law.
In 2021, after our dependencies on Chinese products like masks became clear during COVID, my Republican colleague, Congressman Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, and I wondered what dependencies the U.S. military might have on Chinese companies when it came to our defense supply chains. In response, we led a bipartisan task force to pull back the curtain and see what we might need to do to rid ourselves of those dependencies.
We found that microchips and the rare earth minerals that make them were an important vulnerability for our military, so we passed bipartisan legislation pushing the Department of Defense for greater supply chain transparency and made recommendations for other legislation that would minimize our dependence on foreign suppliers.
Here’s the thing: our reliance on China undermines both our economic and national security. That’s why I’m leading bipartisan bills to keep us safe. The latest – the REEShore & HARD ROCK Acts – build up our critical mineral stockpiles to prevent this exact situation with the F-35.
Weaning ourselves — and especially our military equipment — off of critical Chinese components won’t just happen on its own. It will require policy and law to ensure our economic and national security.
– Rep. Elissa Slotkin
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