Bi-State Delegation Announces that Senate Approves Provisions from their Bill to Increase Workload at Rock Island Arsenal

Defense Authorization bill directs Defense Secretary to create a strategic workload plan for arsenals including Rock Island

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced that major portions of their bill to help increase the workload and help ensure the long-term health of Rock Island Arsenal were included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.  The bill will now go to a House-Senate Conference Committee tasked with working out the differences between the Senate version and House version of the defense authorization bill.


Similar to the Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act of 2012 introduced by the four Senators in May, today’s bill builds on last year’s bipartisan effort to increase public-private partnership opportunities at the Arsenal by directing the Secretary of Defense to create a strategic workload plan for arsenals – including Rock Island Arsenal – and report back to Congress no later than February 28, 2013.


“The provisions included in today’s bill ensure that the Rock Island Arsenal’s dedicated and highly-skilled workforce is able to continue to serve this country’s economic and national security interests by developing and manufacturing critical weapons, parts and materiel.” Durbin said. “Not only is the Rock Island Arsenal a major employer for the Quad Cities region, it is a recognized source of some of the most sophisticated engineering and manufacturing in the entire country. I am committed to seeing that this measure is fully implemented, and I commend my colleagues for their work in this bipartisan effort to help secure the Arsenal’s future.”


“Rock Island Arsenal's manufacturing capabilities are both an asset to the Quad Cities economy and the strategic defense of this nation,” Senator Kirk said. “This measure includes provisions that strengthen critical public-private partnerships, helping to ensure the Arsenal's long-term health.  I commend Senators Durbin, Harkin and Grassley and Representatives Bobby Schilling and David Loebsack for their efforts to advocate for the Arsenal and protect its future.”


“It’s good news that this effort is moving forward.  The capabilities of the Rock Island Arsenal have proven their value for a long time and have important place in America’s defense strategies and wartime needs in the years and decades ahead.  This measure will help secure the important contributions of the Arsenal,” Grassley said.


“Facilities like Rock Island Arsenal are critical to our country’s ability to maintain its manufacturing capabilities at home, while securing our workforce right here in the Quad Cities,” said Harkin. “This bipartisan effort will continue to ensure that the Rock Island Arsenal is able to function, even as we wind down our military operations overseas.”


On May 9, Durbin, Kirk, Grassley, and Harkin introduced the Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act of 2012 which would require the Army to create a strategic plan to ensure arsenals, including Rock Island, receive the workload they need to keep workers’ skills sharp. The Army does this type of systematic planning for some of its components but not for arsenals. The bipartisan bill would also promote the use of arsenals defense-wide.


The bill builds upon a bipartisan effort last year by the bi-state congressional delegation to expand the Arsenal’s ability to enter into public-private partnerships which are necessary for Rock Island to maintain and improve its workload. Specifically, they secured – as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 – an unlimited number of public-private partnerships for the Arsenal and the opportunity for the Arsenal to be designated as a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence, which will permit the Army to automatically assign work to Rock Island based on its expertise.


The Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act of 2012 was also cosponsored by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Mark L. Pryor (D-AR) and Senator Charles E. Schumer.