WASHINGTON – President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order Dec. 20 to reverse the decades-long trend of increasing dependence on foreign imports of critical minerals that are essential to American prosperity and national security, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Interior.

Earlier this week, the DOI, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, released a report that examined 23 minerals that are needed for manufacturing everything from batteries and computer chips to equipment used by the military.

“This executive order will prioritize reducing the nation’s vulnerability to disruptions in our supply of critical minerals safely and responsibly for the benefit of the American people,” Trump said. “The United States must not remain reliant on foreign competitors like Russia and China for the critical minerals needed to keep our economy strong and our country safe.”

The comprehensive order aims to identify new sources of critical minerals, ensure miners and producers have access to the best data, and streamline the leasing and permitting process to expedite production, reprocessing and recycling of minerals at all levels of the supply chain.

“As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for the military’s needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “I applaud President Trump’s action to fix this problem at all points in the supply chain.”