House Armed Services Committee Roundtable to be held at Rock Island Arsenal

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

On Friday, Oct. 7, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Panel on Businesses Challenges within the Defense Industry will be holding a roundtable at the Rock Island Arsenal.  Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17) was named to the bipartisan panel by Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA-25) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA-05) upon its formation in September.  The panel is led by Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA-09) and Rick Larsen (D-WA-02), and is comprised of seven of HASC’s 62 members.

Expected to attend are a number of local officials, members of the Defense Panel, fellow HASC member Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02), representatives from the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, the Rock Island Development Group, and a number of other invited guests representing local businesses and manufacturers.  Schilling and Loebsack have worked together closely to grow workload at RIA and stimulate the regional economy in the districts they represent.  They successfully offered language in the Fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization to lift the cap in current law on the number of public-private partnerships arsenals can enter into, which limits arsenals’ flexibility to increase its workload, grow the local economy, and strengthen our domestic manufacturing base.

“The Rock Island Arsenal is a great location for the Defense Business Panel’s first roundtable, and an opportunity to showcase the Arsenal as a national treasure before lawmakers from across the country,” Schilling said.  “This forum will be an opportune setting for Rock Island Arsenal’s stakeholders to discuss roadblocks that are keeping small- and medium-sized businesses from entering into contracts with the Department of Defense, limiting their ability to create jobs and grow our local economy.”

Schilling and Loebsack along with Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL-16) and staff of Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-01) held a manufacturing summit in August focused on supporting the expansion of job creation at the Rock Island Arsenal and manufacturing in the region as a whole. The Rock Island Arsenal is a major jobs engine in the Quad Cities and – with approximately 8,600 workers – its largest employer.  Over 35 private-sector companies have leases at the Arsenal, which also houses approximately 50 Department of Defense organizations. Further, its business supports over 14,000 additional jobs in the surrounding area.