If everything is tied into one source, one spot, or one country in this case, then you're very limited. And if they decided to cut that off from you, then you lose all of your options.
General John F. Campbell
We're trying to create a dialogue, trying to create urgency both from the economic piece and from the military to really get after this.
General John F. Campbell
Rare Earth Elements . . . a critical component of the entire supply chain because it's the beginning, the nexus of what all of the electronics come from. So, if you don't have those, you can't build them.
Co-Founder and Vice President, Operations, STS International
David Morgan, co-founder and vice president of operations at STS International, and retired Army Gen. John F. Campbell recently joined Federal News Network to discuss the impact of rare earth elements (REE). One may be surprised to learn how dependent the United States military is on a sole source for this key part of our defense capability.
Morgan indicated that 95% of REE are controlled by China. This could be a very effective chokepoint if hostilities ever broke out between the United States and China. Strategically, Campbell said the U.S. military should acknowledge the precarious position it is in.
“If everything is tied into one source, one spot, or one country in this case, then you’re very limited,” Campbell said. “And if they decided to cut that off from you, then you lose all of your options.”
These little-known elements are key components of much of today’s technology. In the military, Campbell indicated a lack of REE could result in loss of communications, loss of geospatial information, and elimination of backup systems.
“Whether it was having sonar capability to look at the ships on the sea or submarines underneath, those types of military applications are very dependent upon rare earth elements. So, it’s a national security discussion that we need to have,” he said.
Morgan said this position impacts the commercial sector as well.
“Most people don’t realize that rare earths are critical components of today’s electronics both in consumer, commercial, and industrial applications,” he said. “They do things like develop into magnets, into lasers, things like that, that are critical for us to use now in our everyday life.“
Most federal leaders have a general idea about supply chains. Typically, one thinks of hardware when it comes to the supply chain. For example, where is the router manufactured? What about the components that allow the router, or battery, or aerospace part to be manufactured?
“There’s a bunch of enabling technologies that go into the blockchain that potentially could revolutionize this type of problem where you’re trying to track a component or a product through the supply chain to customers,” Morgan said.
Ultimately, both Morgan and Campbell believe it is incumbent on the national leadership to recognize the problem with rare earth elements and develop a policy that will take the United States out of this vulnerable position.
Co-Founder and Vice President, Operations, STS International
David Morgan is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of STS International, where he oversees worldwide operations responsible for rapid design, development, and deployment of cutting-edge antiterrorism and physical security technologies, medical simulation training applications, and professional engineering services. Through his innovations and strategic leadership, STS has achieved significant growth by penetrating new and emerging markets through a diversified client base in eighteen countries across four continents. He has led development and deployment of advanced technologies to protect national interests for the Department of Defense, including the Department’s biometrics program and the Army’s and Navy’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) technologies. He has deployed technical subject matter expertise to meet urgent program requirements in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other austere locations and has also led development of medical simulation technologies to train critical combat trauma and casualty care with simulators to include task trainers, gaming solutions and live training simulations for the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines.
His strong commitment to research and development has translated his strategic vision into reality by producing technological and logistical advancements in the way in which US forces are supported in mission-critical operations. Advancements include: advanced body armor solutions that were recognized in the Army’s Greatest Inventions program; command and control technology that consolidates full motion video (FMV) into common display systems; forming unique, highly skilled teams to provide sustainment operations, logistical support, and training to US forces throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations around the world for ISR and counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) systems for the US forces deployed; secure information screening, analysis, transfer, and dissemination in support of intelligence operations; and establishing the foundation and original program architectures for the development and integration of biometric technologies into DoD operations.
His core leadership principles are grounded in the strong belief that the investment in talented staff ―and challenging the very best in his staff ―is the greatest investment a company can make. Under his leadership, STS has grown almost 500 percent in the last three years. Most recently, STS was recognized as one of Inc.’s 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies four years in a row (2014-2017). As a small business entrepreneur, Mr. Morgan has a true passion for mentoring young and emerging entrepreneurs. He served as a member of the board of directors of a nonprofit and currently as an advisory board member of several private companies. Several of these companies have made the Inc 5000 as well, bringing to a total of over eight recognitions over the last four years. He is a regular speaker on innovation and entrepreneurship, a member of the Dingman Center Angels, who evaluate and invest in premier start-up technology companies, and a member of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets and the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s New Intellectual Forum. Recognized for leadership and evaluation of emerging technologies, he has been named to National Institute of Justice’s Peer Review Panel and is an active reviewer of innovative approaches to analysis, research, and development; information and sensor technologies; investigative and forensic science and technology; and law enforcement technologies. He is a contributor to McGraw-Hill Publishers as a technical editor, reviewing training materials and publications for first responders and homeland security professionals in emergency operations and disaster management. He is the author of two books: “Chasing the White Rabbit- A Discovery of Leadership in the 21st Century” and “Main Street Smarts: Success at the Intersection of Main Street and Wall Street.”
General (Retired) John F. Campbell retired from the US Army on 1 May 2016 after 37 years of active duty service. General Campbell was most recently the Commander of NATO Forces for the ISAF/Resolute Support Mission and Commander of United States Forces—Afghanistan from August 2014 to March of 2016. Prior to this command assignment, he served as the 34th Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; the second highest ranking officer in the 1.1 million US Army. Prior to serving as the Vice Chief, General Campbell was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations-G3, 5, 7 running the day to day operations of the US Army.
After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1979, General Campbell began his career as an infantry officer with his initial assignment in Germany. Upon completion of this tour he attended the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and Special Forces Qualification Course and he was assigned to his first of three tours to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Campbell subsequently commanded a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha in the 5th Special Forces Group, and then commanded an Infantry company in the 82nd Airborne Division. After a tour serving as a Professor of Military Science at the University of Calif-Davis, he served as the Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps, deploying in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. After promotion to lieutenant colonel he assumed command of the 2d Battalion, 5th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division (Light) at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Upon graduation from the Army War College and after a tour of duty on the Joint Staff, Campbell was promoted to colonel and then assumed command of the 1st Brigade, 82d Airborne Division and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He then assumed duties as the Executive Officer to the 35th Army Chief of Staff and upon promotion to brigadier general was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General (Manuever), 1st Cavalry Division and deployed as DCG Multinational Division Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the historic surge into Iraq in 2006-2007. After another tour on the Joint Staff as the Deputy Director for Regional Operations he was promoted to major general and assigned as the Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In 2010-2011 he deployed the entire division and assumed command of US and NATO forces as Commander, Combined Joint Task Force 101 in Bagram the operational headquarters for Regional Command East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
General Campbell holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy and master’s degrees in Public Administration from Golden Gate University and MS in National Security Strategy from the Army War College. During his military service, General Campbell earned a number of individual and campaign awards and decorations to include the Defense Distinguished Service medal, three Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, three Bronze Star Medals, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, six Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal, two Humanitarian Service Medals, Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge, Master Parachutist Badge as well as the Ranger and Special Forces Tabs.
John Gilroy has been a member of the Washington D.C. technology community for over twenty years. In 2007 he began weekly interviews on Federal News Network called “Federal Tech Talk with John Gilroy.” His 428 interviews provides the basis for profitable referral business. In 2009 he created a successful breakfast club of previous radio guests called The Technology Leadership Roundtable. He has been instrumental in two of his guests forming their own radio shows: Derrick Dortch with “Fed Access” and Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm with “Women in Washington.”
In 2011 he began teaching a course in social media marketing at Georgetown University; in March of 2014, John won the Tropaia Award for Outstanding Faculty. John conducts monthly corporate training for large companies on how to leverage social media to generate revenue.