Congressmen Bobby Schilling (IL-17) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) this morning applauded the Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC) and Mack Defense agreement that will provide Mack Defense access, via public-private partnerships, to the only remaining U.S. Army foundry and the Army's only vertically integrated metal manufacturing facility.
The RIA-JMTC and Mack Defense agreement to form a public-private partnership is the first such intent to partner since Schilling-Loebsack Arsenal provisions were signed into law early this year as part of the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
"I couldn't be more pleased by news of the formation of a job-creating public-private partnership between the JMTC and Mack Defense," Schilling said. "This new agreement strengthens the Arsenal and the JMTC, and will surely strengthen our case as Team Rock Island Arsenal continues promoting the Arsenal's value to our national defense needs and to our region."
"Today's announcement is a win-win-win agreement for the Arsenal, Mack Defense and the hard working folks in the Quad Cities," said Loebsack. "This is a great partnership being done under the authority of the new provisions that Rep. Schilling and I were proud to push through Congress. It will strengthen the Arsenal and the JMTC and I look forward to seeing this and future partnerships grow."
"This is great news that demonstrates once more a success story of partnership between the Department of Defense industrial base and industry in support of our nation's objectives. Such partnering is the solution to a reduced Department of Defense budget while allowing the U.S. to maintain its warfighting edge," said Major General (Ret) Yves Fontaine of Fontaine Consulting LLC, former Commanding General of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command at the Rock Island Arsenal.
Schilling and Loebsack secured landmark language in the HASC markup of the NDAA in May to lift the legal cap on the number of public-private partnerships arsenals can enter into. That cap was limited to eight spread across arsenals throughout the country, limiting RIA's flexibility to increase its workload and broaden its regional, private-sector economic impact. The Schilling-Loebsack language went on to pass the House as part of the comprehensive NDAA in a bipartisan vote of 322-92. The Senate version of the NDAA did not fully remove the cap, instead lifting it to 15.
Schilling and Loebsack were named to the NDAA Conference Committee tasked with working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the NDAA. As conferees, the Congressmen successfully maintained the House-passed PPP language to maximize the possibility for private-sector job growth at installations like RIA. They also successfully included a provision in the conference report that would designate the Arsenal as a Center for Industrial and Technical Excellence (CITEs), further improving its ability to enter into public-private partnerships, provide for our men and women in combat, and strengthen the Arsenal's core skills and manufacturing abilities. These Schilling-Loebsack provisions were approved as part of the comprehensive NDAA by the House and the Senate, and were signed into law by the president.
The 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.