Durbin, Sorensen Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Sustain Workload at Rock Island Arsenal

The legislation would establish a minimum workload requirement at Army arsenals nationwide

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Eric Sorensen (D-IL-17), along with U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), today introduced bipartisan legislation to establish a minimum workload requirement at U.S. Army arsenals, including Rock Island Arsenal.  The Arsenal Workload Sustainment Act would also incentivize private industry to partner with arsenals by giving preference to public-private partnerships in Army contracting.  As no workload requirement currently exists for Army arsenals, the legislation would provide arsenals with a more predictable, sustained workload throughout the year and allow them to keep costs low while remaining competitive with private industry in the manufacturing or procurement of defense products.

The bill would have a direct impact on Rock Island Arsenal, helping the arsenal to maintain existing union jobs, attract new projects and workers, and keep costs down. 

“Rock Island Arsenal is a crucial asset for both our national security and the economy of the Quad Cities region, outfitted to manufacture the defense articles needed to ensure military preparedness.  That’s why I’m introducing the Arsenal Workload Sustainment Act with Congressman Sorensen today,” said Durbin.  “This new legislation would support the organic industrial base and ensure that our nation’s arsenals are seeing a workload worthy of their expertise.”

“The Rock Island Arsenal supports thousands of jobs for our neighbors in the Quad Cities, in addition to playing an important role in keeping our nation safe.  The Arsenal Workload Sustainment Actwill ensure that the Rock Island Arsenal has the tools it needs to attract more work, create more jobs, and help our regional economy grow. I am grateful to Senator Durbin for working with me on this important issue that helps our working families and keeps our communities sustainable for generations to come,” said Sorensen.

“The Rock Island Arsenal is a pillar of the Quad Cities and our national security industrial base.  It must receive the workload necessary in peacetime to ensure readiness in the event of emergency,” Grassley said.  “The economic and national security reasons forencouraging investments in our industrial base are many.  I’m glad to be teaming up with the bistate congressional delegation on this effort to benefit our constituencies.”

“The Rock Island Arsenal is an economic engine for the entire Quad Cities region and plays an important role in our national security,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to help introduce the Arsenal Workload Sustainment Act today to help increase public-private partnerships in Army contracting and, in turn, help provide the Arsenal with consistent, reliable levels of work while helping ensure costs remain low.”

Specifically, the Arsenal Workload Sustainment Act would require a 50 percent workload threshold for government-owned and government-operated Army factories and arsenals.  This would broadly apply to production that can take place at Army arsenals and factories, leveraging their unique role in the organic industrial base and capabilities such as in additive manufacturing.  It would also establish a preference for public-private partnerships that provide a non-public entity a 20 percent preference in the source selection process if it uses a government-owned and government-operated Army arsenal as a partner.  In addition, the bill would require the U.S. Department of Defense to provide relevant congressional communities with an annual report on workload at the arsenals and capital investments to help ensure sustainment of the arsenals.

Durbin has long been a champion for Rock Island Arsenal and its modernization and workload efforts.  Durbin was instrumental in the establishment of the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center; an online pilot program designed to advertise underutilized real estate; a pilot partnership between the Army and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support the Strategic National Stockpile; and the Army’s “Make-or-Buy” policy.  Durbin has also supported annual procurement and research efforts at the Arsenal, including the manufacturing of Humvees and the new jointless hull printer, which is the largest 3D printer in the world.