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Mrs. HAGAN. Madam President, as we conclude our work on S. 3254, the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, I would like to draw attention to yet another important role my State is playing in our national defense.
North Carolina is home to the two major lithium suppliers in the United States. Not only are these important employers in my State, but they are serving our defense industry with critical materials that are vital to our Nation's defense capabilities both now and in the future.
The Defense Department has recognized through its Defense Production Act Title III office that ``Li Ion batteries are extremely attractive to military customers with the most demanding set of requirements such as the space/satellite communities for spacecraft applications and the Special Operation forces.''
Lithium metal is an important component in a wide range of defense applications. For over a decade, the US military has been widely using non-rechargeable--primary--lithium batteries to provide power for mines, missiles, torpedoes, sonobuoys, guided artillery, fuses, communication devices, countermeasure devices, global positioning systems, and guidance systems. Presently, primary lithium batteries are the power source of choice for a majority of devices that a servicemember uses in combat and realistic training operations. An infantryman on a 72-hour mission in Afghanistan carries around 30 pounds of batteries. Lithium metal used in these defense applications affords today's Armed Forces fluid movement on the battlefield and in remote areas.
We need to remain vigilant to the world's lithium supply situation. Offshore suppliers of lithium are poised to expand their capacity at the risk of domestic U.S. lithium production capability. It will be essential to our future national defense needs that we are able protect and enhance our domestic supply chain of battery-grade lithium metal.
Mr. President, I recognize the importance of this industry to our Nation's defense. I am proud that over 600 men and women in my State are dedicated to creating these critical materials for our Armed services and urge that we continue to recognize the essential role this industry plays in our future defense strategies.
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