ROCK ISLAND – U.S Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) today announced new guidance from the Army that will help manufacturing at the Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) remain competitive with the private sector and maintain a reliable workload. The new guidance will ensure that RIA is given fair consideration for every Army acquisition purchase and require all private sector companies to look at the RIA’s Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center (JMTC) as a potential supplier of component parts. The announcement came following a tour of RIA with Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, and the Commander of Army Material Command, General Gustave F. Perna.
“The Rock Island Arsenal is a crucial asset for both our national security and the economy of the Quad Cities region, which is why I’ve continued to fight for initiatives like the guidance announced today that will boost the Arsenal’s competitiveness,” Durbin said. “Illinois has long taken a leadership role in our nation’s defense and I’m glad that McCarthy was able to see firsthand the great work that happens here at Rock Island. I look forward to continuing to work with the Army to assure that the workload at the Arsenal and its Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center remain strong.”
“The Rock Island Arsenal isn’t just the engine that drives our local economy, it’s also an essential part of our national security strategy. That’s why last year, I fought hard to require new ‘make or buy’ guidelines in the National Defense Authorization bill to help ensure more work is directed to facilities like the Arsenal. We have some of the best workers in the country right here at Rock Island, and we’re proud to be doing our part to keep America safe,” Bustos said. “I want to thank Senator Durbin for his continued dedication and partnership in helping ensure that the Rock Island Arsenal continues its important work providing our troops with the equipment they need to get the job done.”
The Rock Island Arsenal plays a necessary role in our armed forces by adapting to the needs of the military and quickly manufacturing critical items to protect our troops. Along with guaranteeing that JMTC is given consideration for every Army acquisition purchase, the new guidance ensures that even for contracts RIA doesn’t win, the company that does must come to JMTC to see if it can make some of the component parts for that item. It also creates an annual review process to make sure that the guidance is working.
As Vice Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Durbin worked to add $120 million for Humvee ambulance production in Fiscal Year 2018. Additionally, McCarthy is moving more than 100 Army human resources staff to Rock Island to use excess office space. This is a result of a provision Bustos include in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that requires the Pentagon to ensure that it uses excess office space at RIA and elsewhere before it pays for a private sector lease.