Managing Foreign Mineral Information Programs To Support Public Policy Analyses

Gao ID: EMD-81-32 December 10, 1980

Changes in global mineral supply and demand conditions can have direct and far-reaching implications for U.S. economic stability and strategic capabilities. In spite of highly visible concern in the executive branch and Congress about U.S. foreign mineral information capabilities and numerous initiatives that have expanded Federal data collection and analysis capabilities, there continues to be no strategy for matching extensive information capabilities with public policy mineral information throughout the executive branch. For many mineral commodities critical to economic stability and strategic capabilities, the United States is increasingly dependent on foreign sources of supply. It is important to know about supply and demand of mineral sources from abroad, foreign reserves, and conditions that could result in supply interruptions.

Federal foreign mineral information capabilities fall short of public policy, decisionmaking, and overall resource management objectives because: (1) the Department of the Interior's foreign mineral data collection, analysis, and dissemination activities are principally responsive to individual office mandates rather than to the entire executive branch; (2) responsible policy planning, decisionmaking, and resource managers in the Federal Government have minimal contact with the various Government collection, analysis, and dissemination processes; (3) the wide selection of data available does not become part of a data pool, reducing its availability and effectiveness; (4) the use of foreign mineral data has been severely restricted due to the absence of a usable data management capability; and (5) commodity policy analysts throughout the executive branch contract for databases from a wide variety of sources outside the Federal establishment, creating a lack of communication between data collection and policy planning.


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