Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-02), both members of the House Armed Services Committee, today applauded the Senate Armed Services Committee's advancing of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has provisions similar to report language Schilling and Loebsack included in the House Armed Services Committee version of the NDAA. Complementing H.R. 5706, the Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act introduced by Schilling and Loebsack last month, the Senate language would support the Rock Island Arsenal's manufacturing capabilities while continuing to support the advancement of public-private partnerships.
The House of Representatives passed its version of the defense authorization on May 18, 2012. Schilling and Loebsack's report language directs the Department of Defense to identify the critical manufacturing capabilities provided by the industrial base in the public and private sectors and determine the amount of work that is required to maintain them in peacetime.
"With the Rock Island Arsenal's 150th birthday approaching, the best gift we can give its hard-working employees is the certainty of continued workload," Schilling said. "I'm pleased that the Senate Armed Services Committee acted promptly on their version of the defense authorization, and am looking forward to a final package with the strongest possible protections for the Arsenal and our area's defense manufacturing capabilities -- a package that I hope the full Illinois and Iowa Delegation can support."
"This is another positive step forward for the arsenal, the people of the Quad Cities and our nation's defense," said Loebsack. "Rock Island Arsenal is central to our region's economy and it's highly skilled workforce and advanced manufacturing capabilities are critical to our national security and to our ability to supply our troops with the equipment they need, when they need it. I look forward to working with the entire bistate, bipartisan and bicameral delegation to move forward and continue the work we started last year."
Schilling and Loebsack were joined by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in introducing the bicameral Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act on May 9, 2012. This legislation would help to keep arsenals like Rock Island warm and employees' skills sharp by requiring that the Army produce a plan to ensure they are properly workloaded. Though the Army creates such plans for some of its divisions, it currently does not for arsenals.
This legislation builds on Schilling's and Loebsack's efforts on the House Armed Services Committee to include in last year's defense bill the landmark provision lifting the cap on the number of public-private partnerships arsenals are able to enter into, maximizing the possibility for private-sector job growth at installations like the Rock Island Arsenal. Schilling and Loebsack also included in last year's bill the provision designating the Rock Island Arsenal as a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence, 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 provisions were included in last year's comprehensive defense bill and signed into law by the President.