NEWYORK, May 6 -- The Pentagon is likely to present a plan for Congress to overhaul its stockpiling program in the coming weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal on 3 May. The new plan, dubbed the Strategic Materials Security Program by the Pentagon, would give the military greater power to decide what it stockpiles and how it goes about buying the materials. It would also speed up decision making at a time when military technology evolves rapidly, commodity markets swing widely and countries around the world fight to secure access to natural resources.
"It's a risk-management program," said Paula Stead, who oversees the effort for the Defense National Stockpile Center at Fort Belvoir, in Virginia. The goal is to be able to obtain "a much broader" array of materials in "a much shorter time," she said.
The Defense Department holds in government warehouses a limited number of critical materials—including some 4,000 tonnes of tin—worth about $1.6 billion as of late 2008. At that time the military suspended or limited sales of 13 commodities it had previously considered excess, including tin. Last year it added 14 materials to its list of resources it considers for stockpiling, including specialty steels, lithium and some rare-earth elements, taking the total to 68. More additions are expected, said Ms. Stead.