The U.S. Defense Department is seeking new federal funds to bolster domestic production of rare earth minerals and reduce dependence on China, the Pentagon has said, amid mounting concern in Washington about Beijing's role as a supplier.

The Pentagon's request was outlined in a report sent to the White House and briefed to Congress, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said Wednesday.

Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements used in consumer products, from iPhones to electric car motors, and critical military applications, including jet engines, satellites and lasers.