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Immediate Release

Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks' Round Table Meeting With U.S. Battery and Critical Minerals Manufacturers

Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks held a meeting with executives from six U.S. lithium-ion battery and critical mineral companies today at the Pentagon to communicate the Department's focus on growing the U.S. battery industry, while reducing supply chain vulnerabilities caused by over-reliance on overseas competitors. 

Industry attendees included executives from Bren-Tronics, EaglePicher, Enersys, Forge Nano, General Motors Defense, and Our Next Energy. 

This in-person round table is part of an ongoing effort to engage the U.S. industrial base on the Department's top priorities critical to operational readiness. 

Today, batteries are critical for powering our defense systems—from vehicles and aircraft, to munitions and platforms, to our unmanned systems and satellite systems and more. Deputy Secretary Hicks emphasized 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 conversation included discussion of addressing the unique challenges the Department has as a battery customer, including a lack of battery standardization across platforms, and varying demand signals. The roundtable was an opportunity for companies to provide feedback on possible solutions to those challenges.   

She also emphasized that the Biden Administration and the Department of Defense are committed to increasing cooperation with and supporting the U.S. industrial base. DoD is coordinating with government agencies to secure and expand U.S. battery supply chains through the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB) and the White House's American Battery Materials Initiative (ABMI).

Last week, Deputy Secretary Hicks met with the FCAB Executive Steering Group, which included leaders from the Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Environmental Protection Agency to advance efforts to secure the supply chain, expand the domestic battery market, and strengthen the U.S. industrial base for batteries.

Other senior DoD officials attending today's round table were Dr. Radha Plumb, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment; Mr. Joe Bryan, Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Climate Advisor; and Ms. Halimah Najieb-Locke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Resilience.

Since 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and Deputy Secretary Hicks have engaged with hundreds of industry and technology leaders as a part of a persistent, open communication strategy to advance the Department's understanding of the U.S. innovation ecosystem, advance the priorities outlined in the National Defense Strategy, and prepare the United States for future national security challenges