Durbin Says Secretary of the Army Confirms No Decision Yet on Rock Island Arsenal's Future

Secretary understands importance of Arsenal as one of only two facilities nationwide that perform heavy metal work for military

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – After months of speculation and rumor about the future of Rock Island Arsenal, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced, after a personal call with Army Secretary John McHugh, that no decisions have been made and no changes will occur at the Rock Island Arsenal without the Illinois / Iowa Congressional Delegation and the Quad Cities region being fully engaged. 


“I have heard a lot of speculation and rumor over the last few months about the future of Rock Island Arsenal.  I spoke with Army Secretary McHugh today to get to the bottom of it.  The Department of Defense is gathering information at all levels of the military in a process that could take 6-12 months.  During that time, there would be no changes or decisions.  With so much at stake, we should be concerned, watchful and prepared, but there is no need to panic,” said Durbin. 


“As one of only two facilities in the country that does heavy metal work for the military, Rock Island Arsenal is important to the Army’s mission and Secretary McHugh understands that.  He assured me that he will keep the Illinois / Iowa Congressional Delegation know posted on every step in the process.”


Durbin is committed to working with the Illinois / Iowa Congressional Delegation and Secretary McHugh to secure the long-term future of Rock Island Arsenal and specifically, the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC).  Durbin worked closely with six other members of the bipartisan Illinois / Iowa Congressional Delegation to give the Rock Island Arsenal the tools necessary to maintain and improve their workload.  Specifically, they secured – as part of the National Defense Authorization Act – 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 their expertise. 


Late last year, in a meeting with the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Tom Lamont, Durbin secured confirmation that nine firefighter and emergency medical positions would be preserved at Rock Island Arsenal.  According to Lamont, the cuts were mistakenly included in announcement of reductions to the civilian personnel workforce at Rock Island Arsenal and Army facilities nationwide. 


The Rock Island Arsenal JMTC is a one-of-a-kind U.S. Army facility which manufactures critical equipment for our troops around the world. The more than 1,700 highly-skilled individuals – at least half of whom are veterans – employed at JMTC specialize in manufacturing artillery, armor, small arms, and mobile maintenance kits for use on the front lines. The JMTC, perhaps best known for howitzer production, operates the Army’s only foundry and since 2003 has produced half of all armor for Army tactical wheeled vehicles. Rock Island Arsenal, the region’s largest employer with a 8,600-person workforce anchored by the JMTC, injects $1.3 billion dollars directly into the local economy each year.