Durbin Discusses Rock Island Arsenal with Secretary of Defense Nominee

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–June 7, 2011.  In a meeting with President Obama’s nominee to be Secretary of Defense and current Director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today discussed his concerns about the possibility that an internal task force within Army could recommend closure of the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC) at Rock Island Arsenal. Last week, after touring the JMTC facilities, Durbin spoke with Army Secretary John McHugh who assured him that there are no current plans to close or relocate the JMTC.

“Last week, I received promising news from Secretary McHugh who said that closing the JMTC was not part of the Army’s current plans. When I spoke with Director Panetta, I made clear that a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Delegation would be working to see that closing the JMTC will not be part of the Army’s future plans.”

After learning that an internal task force at the Army Materiel Command (AMC) was considering relocating Rock Island Arsenal’s Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC), Durbin joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both the Illinois and Iowa Congressional Delegations in calling for a meeting with McHugh as soon as possible to discuss their concerns about the cost associated with conducting such a move as well as the impact it would have on the Rock Island Arsenal. Members signing on to the May 26 letter include: U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) along with U.S. Representatives Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17), Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02) and Bruce Braley (D-IA-01) .

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.