Rock Island Arsenal gets $110 million in federal funding

The United States Army is providing $110 million in funding for the Rock Island Arsenal, announced the bi-state, bipartisan delegation representing the Rock Island Arsenal including Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Mark Kirk, Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Tom Harkin, Representative Cheri Bustos, Congressman Bruce Braley and Congressman Dave Loebsack on Monday, June 9, 2014.

The funding is through the Arsenal Sustainment Initiative that will help the Arsenal remain competitive when bidding on work with partnerships with the private sector.

“The $110 million is basically put into the account at the Rock Island Arsenal so they’ll be able to bid more effectively for work to come to the Arsenal,” said Senator Durbin.

“This is something that is absolutely critical to make sure they remain competitive,” said Representative Cheri Bustos.

Competition increasing as the war in Afghanistan winds down.

“We know as the war ends in Afghanistan our needs to be strong and safe as a nation won’t end. We’re going to need to make sure that our equipment is what our men and women need to use and defend this nation, but the competition will be much tougher,” said Durbin.

“We have to make sure that the arsenal remains in a position where we can compete at a public private partnership level and stay competitive, what this money does is help make this happen,” added Bustos.

With zero active public private partnerships currently, a spokesperson with the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center saying in an emailed statement, “The Industrial Mobilization Capacity funding stabilizes Arsenal rates, better allowing Arsenals to compete for business and sustain manufacturing capabilities.”

“This is a major, major step for our area and for the great people who work at the Arsenal,” said Bustos.

A press release from Senator Durbin’s office says last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a mark-up for the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. According to the release, Senator Durbin requested that the legislation requires the Secretary of the Army to maintain a minimum workload at the Rock Island Arsenal and would eliminate the Secretary of the Army’s current authority to close an arsenal if he deems it necessary.