BOX 1-1

Materials Being Held by the National Defense Stockpile (May 2007)

At the time of writing, the NDS stored 21 materials. Two were being held against a national emergency: quartz crystal and beryllium metal hot pressed powder (HPP). The NDS had 171 short tons (ST) of beryllium HPP in inventory of which 121 ST had been authorized for sale but which were being held pending a determination of whether the HPP should continue to be held for DoD needs or Department of Energy needs.

Twenty-five commodities are available for sale:

Aluminum oxide

Manganese ore, metallurgical grade

Beryllium-copper master alloy

Manganese ore, battery grade

Beryllium, vacuum cast

Mica

Chromium metal

Platinum

Cobalt

Talc, block/lump

Columbium metal ingots

Talc, ground

Diamond stones

Tantalum carbide powder

Ferrochromium, high carbon

Tin

Ferrochromium, low carbon

Tungsten metal powder

Germanium

Tungsten ores and concentrates

Iodine

Vegetable tannin

Iridium

Zinc

Manganese ferro, high carbon

 

The NDS also stores mercury, which is not for sale and is expected to be shipped to the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada during 2007.

At the time of writing, DNSC operates 17 active storage sites having material available for sale or sold and awaiting shipment, with 8 additional sites awaiting environmental restoration or certification before being turned over to the property owner. By the end of FY2007, only three staffed sites will be operating.

Beginning in 1992, the U.S. Congress directed DNSC to sell the bulk of the commodities in the stockpile. Since 1993, DNSC sales have totaled approximately $6.6 billion. Over the same period, the world economy has become increasingly global as have the supply chains that feed the industries supplying the national defense system and the essential civilian industries that the stockpile was meant to protect. Against this background, the geopolitical situation has changed radically not only since World War II but also more recently with the emergence of new economic powers such as China and India, the demise of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia, and the rise of international terrorism as a sustained threat to the national security of the United States.

With all these changes a question arises: Should the United States continue to maintain a stockpile of critical materials and, if it should, what might be the general



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