The Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr Kathleen Hicks held a meeting with executives from six American-based lithium-ion battery and critical mineral companies on 28 April 2023.

The industry attendees included executives from Bren-Tronics, EaglePicher, EnerSys, Forge Nano, General Motors Defense, and Our Next Energy. 

This meeting follows the policy of the US Department of Defense (DoD) in attempting to expand its defence industrial base in all critical areas that will support the operational readiness of the US military and the militaries of its allies in their joint efforts to confront what the DoD calls the “pacing threat of China.”

The meeting allowed Dr Hicks to communicate the importance of supporting the US battery industry, while reducing supply chain vulnerabilities caused by over-reliance on overseas competitors.

Today, batteries are critical for powering defence systems—from vehicles and aircraft, to munitions and platforms, to uncrewed systems and satellite systems and more. Hicks emphasised that increasing lethality and maintaining the United States’ asymmetric military edge will depend on advancing battery technology and ensuring a more resilient domestic supply chain.

The DoD announced that it is coordinating with government agencies to secure and expand US battery supply chains through the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB) and the White House’s American Battery Materials Initiative (ABMI).

Since 2021, the Biden administration has implemented its policy to strengthen the US defence industrial base by making its supply chains resilient as global tensions sour ever further. The FCAB implement the policy by shaping resilient supply chains, revitalising American manufacturing, and fostering broad-based growth with 100-day reviews under executive order 14017. This assesses supply chain vulnerabilities and provides recommendations across four key products including high-capacity batteries.