Durbin Votes to Confirm Leon Panetta as New Secretary of Defense

Senate unanimously confirms nominee

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Just before the Senate unanimously confirmed Leon Panetta as the next Secretary of Defense today, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke on the floor of the United States Senate to express his strong support of Panetta’s nomination. Earlier this month, Durbin met with Panetta to discuss his nomination, concerns about an internal Army task force potentially recommending closure of the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC) at Rock Island Arsenal, and Durbin’s DREAM Act.


“I have known Director Panetta for a long time, and I can say with certainty that he is up to the test,” said Durbin. “I support Leon Panetta as our next Secretary of Defense because—now more than ever—we need his steady hand and leadership to tackle our challenges in budgets, in management, and in the critical conflicts that we are engaged in around the world. I look forward to working with him once he is confirmed.”


The Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (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 individuals 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. Veterans make up more than half of JMTC’s highly-skilled workforce.


Durbin’s DREAM Act is a narrowly tailored bill to give undocumented students a chance to earn legal status if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and complete two years of college or military service in good standing.