Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17) today was named to the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Panel on Business Challenges within the Defense Industry, newly formed by Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA-25) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA-05). The panel, comprised of seven of the Committee's 62 members, is tasked with examining the current defense business climate to identify and streamline contracting and regulatory issues facing the defense industry.
"It is necessary that we work to update the defense industry to reflect our current budget restraints," Schilling said. "At a time when we are borrowing 42 cents on the dollar, we must work to enable the private sector to become more easily involved in the defense industry and promote its growth. I thank Chairman McKeon for selecting me for this panel, and look forward to working with my colleagues on facilitating job creation at installations like the Rock Island Arsenal."
The Rock Island Arsenal is a major jobs engine in the Quad Cities and -- with approximately 8,600 workers -- its largest employer. Over 35 private-sector companies have leases at the Arsenal, which also houses approximately 50 Department of Defense organizations. Further, its business supports over 14,000 additional jobs in the surrounding area. Schilling has worked closely with Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02) to grow workload at RIA and stimulate the regional economy in the districts they represent. They successfully offered language in the Fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization to lift the cap in current law on the number of public-private partnerships arsenals can enter into, which limits arsenals' flexibility to increase its workload, grow the local economy, and strengthen our domestic manufacturing base.
Chairman McKeon stated "I am pleased that Rep. Schilling has agreed to serve on this vital panel. American industry is a critical partner in providing for our national security. As we look at the cuts that have already been made to defense spending and the future fiscal environment, it will be more important than ever to find ways to foster competition and innovation within the defense industrial base, to ensure that the warfighter gets the best return on our investment. I know that Rep. Schilling will make an important contribution to this project."
The bipartisan panel will be lead by Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA-09) and Rick Larsen (D-WA-02). Along with Schilling, Reps. Allen West (R-FL-22), Betty Sutton (D-OH-13), Jon Runyan (R-NJ-03), and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-01) will serve on the Defense Business Panel.