General calls Arsenal a "Center of Gravity" for the Army Materiel Command; Agrees to meet with entire area delegation in Washington
Congressmen Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02) and Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17), who serve on the House Armed Services Committee, today spoke with U.S. Army Materiel Command's Commanding General Ann E. Dunwoody to discuss the future of the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC) at the Rock Island Arsenal.
During the call, General Dunwoody reassured the Congressmen that RIA is one of the "centers of gravity" for the Army Material Command. Her comments were made in response to concerns raised by the Congressmen about reports that the Army Materiel Command (AMC) may potentially look to close the JMTC at Rock Island in an effort to cut costs, and word of the Army's reprogramming of $28 million for a new facility in Huntsville, Alabama to house the Expeditionary Contracting Command (ECC). The assignment of ECC would not be an efficiency but an increased cost.
The Congressmen also reiterated their request that the General meet with the entire RIA Congressional delegation to discuss these issues in person. During the call, General Dunwoody agreed to a meeting when she is in Washington in July for the House Military Depot and Industrial Facilities Caucus breakfast.
"On this morning's call with General Dunwoody, I stressed the importance of the Arsenal to the Quad Cities economy and to the Army," said Loebsack. "While General Dunwoody assured us that there are no current plans to target the Joint Manufacturing Technology Center, I told her that as the Army Material Command continues their ongoing review, we will remain vigilant. I made it clear that we would fight any proposal to reduce or eliminate work or functions at JMTC or the Rock Island Arsenal. I also stressed the importance of assuring that the Arsenal has proper workload to support the workforce, the Quad Cities economy, and Army readiness going forward."
"We appreciate General Dunwoody's agreeing to meet with the entire delegation to discuss the Rock Island Arsenal," Schilling said. "With its 8,500 employees, the Arsenal is an important asset to the Quad Cities area, and its contributions to our national security are invaluable. I will continue to work on policies that both strengthen and promote its workload."
Following the call, the Congressmen sent a letter to the General reiterating the importance of the JMTC to the Quad Cities area.
"We appreciate your statement that the RIA is one of the "centers of gravity' for the Army Materiel Command (AMC)," the Congressmen wrote in their letter to General Dunwoody. "We agree with you and look forward to working together to strengthen the workload at the Rock Island Arsenal."
The Congressmen also made the case for importance of maintaining the JMTC as AMC's Internal Task Force looks for cost savings. "As we discussed today, the JMTC is a Working Capital Fund facility that operates off of sales revenue and not appropriated funds," they wrote. "During a separate call with Army Secretary John McHugh on June 1, 2011, the Secretary indicated that the JMTC was not a target at this time. We appreciate your commitment today to ensure that the Task Force review is conducted in a transparent fashion."
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 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.