Defense Primer: Acquiring Specialty Metals and Sensitive Materials [Updated February 3, 2021] [open pdf - 485KB]
From the Document: "Some metals (such as titanium and tungsten) and metal alloys, as well as strong permanent magnets known as rare earth magnets, are critical to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) operations. These materials are frequently integrated into components (e.g., integrated circuits, electrical wiring, or optoelectronic devices) or structures (e.g., aircraft fuselages or ship hulls) of the military platforms and weapon systems that enable warfighting capabilities. There are few, and, in some cases, no known alternatives for many of these materials, which often have unique physical properties, such as high material strength coupled with low density, or resistance to various forms of corrosion. Many of these materials are subject to 'sourcing restrictions or prohibitions' in DOD acquisitions. Congress established these restrictions or prohibitions to protect the domestic materials industry and ensure the United States maintains critical production capabilities and capacity within the defense industrial base. Statutory restrictions establish that some items that incorporate certain metals and metal alloys known as specialty metals generally must be produced or manufactured in the United States. Other statutory prohibitions establish that some items that incorporate certain sensitive materials may not be acquired from specified sources."
CRS In Focus, IF11226
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/