Schilling, Loebsack Win Provisions to Protect & Create Jobs at Rock Island Arsenal

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Today the House Armed Services Committee approved provisions co-authored by Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-IL) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) that will significantly strengthen the ability of the region to leverage assets of the Rock Island Arsenal for job creation and economic growth.

The provisions, included in the House’s version of the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act, would enable arsenals to enter into more public-private partnerships (PPPs), allowing the Rock Island Arsenal to produce for the private sector.  Current law places a cap on the number of PPPs arsenals can enter into, limiting the Rock Island Arsenal’s flexibility to increase its workload. Representatives Schilling and Loebsack successfully offered language to lift this cap and make the authority for such partnerships permanent.  In addition, they authored language that would designate the Arsenal as a Center for Industrial and Technical Excellence, further improving its ability to enter into PPPs and strengthening its core skills and manufacturing abilities.

“Arsenals are a national treasure that must be saved and protected. I am honored to have the opportunity to represent the hard working men and women at the Rock Island Arsenal,” said Schilling. “Through this legislation, we were able to pave the way for more public-private partnerships at RIA that will increase the workload, keep skills sharp and promote jobs.

“Supporting the good-paying jobs of the Rock Island Arsenal workforce is critical to the economy of the Quad Cities,” said Loebsack. “I have seen first-hand the quality of work that the RIA workforce performs for our service members. Encouraging these public-private partnerships will help ensure continued economic growth for the Quad Cities and protect the Arsenal’s future as a strategic asset to the Army.”

The Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois was named a federal facility in 1816 and supports more than 8,600 direct jobs.  The facility specializes in the manufacturing of weapons and components.

"The changes to these key pieces of legislation are significant to the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center at the Rock Island Arsenal,” said Tim Frye, Site Manager of the Rock Island Arsenal Development Group. “It will allow them to expand their public-private partnerships and bring critical workload to this important element of the Army's organic manufacturing base.  The result will be investment in the installation by commercial firms and the creation of jobs for the community."

The House Armed Services Committee is expected to finish its work on the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act later this evening.