Rare earth elements are—despite their name—everywhere. They’re in your cellphone, your car, maybe even in a crown in your mouth. They’re in satellites, wind turbines, night-vision goggles, and laser-guided missiles. By one estimate, every F‑35 Lightning II fighter jet has around 920 pounds of rare earth elements built into its engines and electronics.
All of which makes China’s near-total domination of the rare earth market a matter of economic and national security concern.
A recent RAND study looked at what the United States can do to break its reliance on China for critica …