Policy, Analysis, and Transition

2023 - 2030 DoD Lithium Battery Strategy

Battery technology, and lithium-ion batteries specifically, are the lifeblood of electrification and the future auto industry, but batteries are also essential to thousands of military systems, from handheld radios to unmanned submersibles and to future capabilities like lasers, directed energy weapons, and hybrid electric tactical vehicles. A healthy battery supply chain is essential to the military. When it comes to batteries, America needs to lead the world. That means innovation, but it also means manufacturing, ensuring we have healthy supply chains to get what we need, when we need it. The problem, however, is that China presently dominates that supply chain."

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks

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The DoD Strategy

The Department of Defense (DoD) has published the Lithium Battery Strategy 2023-2030, signed by the Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, Dr. William LaPlante. The strategy fulfills the primary recommendation for improving battery security outlined in Securing Defense-Critical Supply Chains, DoD’s one-year response to Executive Order 14017.

The strategy represents a major step forward for ensuring our Warfighters have the lithium-ion powered capabilities vital to achieving the objectives in the National Defense Strategy, including unmanned systems, directed energy capabilities, tactical vehicle electrification, dismounted warfighter communications, and distributed operations.

Current dependence on potential adversaries for battery materials, coupled with the proliferation of DoD unique battery designs, creates challenges in securing critical battery supply chains. At the same time, skyrocketing demand for electric vehicles is driving the commercial market away from the smaller cell formats on which DoD depends. DoD must adapt quickly to leverage domestic and allied mining, processing, and battery production investments that make it possible to domestically manufacture the lithium-ion cells and battery packs that support our systems safely and affordably.

The James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 funds initiatives to pursue internal DoD, industrial, interagency, and international opportunities and objectives. These include the development of a complementary DoD Lithium Battery Science and Technology Strategy, as well as DoD investments in test and evaluation infrastructure, analytics, and battery standardization. In Fiscal Year 2023 alone, DoD will invest $43 million in these areas.

As part of the Lithium Battery Strategy, DoD is evaluating policy changes to improve its buying power, incentivize allied and domestic markets, and allow DoD to be a better customer to the Defense Industrial Base. These changes will in turn provide the reliable, assured, and efficient energy storage necessary to meet the warfighters’ tactical and operational demands. Ensuring energy storage and delivery will help keep the nation safe and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Answer:The strategy has been released for distribution to U.S. Government personnel and contractors only.

Answer:Given the rapidly changing commercial landscape, updates to the strategy will be published every three years.

Answer:The office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy is responsible for executing the strategy. All questions should be sent to the OSD Senior Battery Advisory at eric.b.shields.civ@mail.mil.

Answer:In February 2023, Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III signed the Small Business Strategy, which seeks to promote a strong, dynamic, and robust small business industrial base by reducing barriers to entry into the defense market, increasing small business set-aside competitions, and leveraging programs that benefit and strengthen small businesses. The small business strategy can be found here.

Small businesses interested in working with DoD are encouraged to visit the Office of Small Business Programs webpage, Guide to Marketing to DoD.

The Department of Defense (DoD) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs are competitive programs established by Congress to encourage domestic small businesses to engage in research and development with the potential for commercialization. The SBIR/STTR programs support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy and accelerate capabilities to the warfighter.

To learn more about the DoD SBIR/STTR programs and upcoming funding opportunities, visit here.

Answer:DoD is working with other government departments, such as the Departments of State, Energy, and Commerce, through the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB). It is supporting whole-of-government approaches to battery challenges through the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries 2021-2030.

Answer:Yes. On March 31, 2022, President Biden signed a Presidential Determination authorizing the use of DPA Title III authorities to address shortfalls in supply chains for Critical Materials in Large-Capacity Batteries. DoD is working with key government stakeholders and industry to address risks and challenges and ensure the resilience of these supply chains. Additional information about DPA Title III and its funding opportunities may be found here.