Officials at Rock Island Arsenal in northwestern Illinois, along with area economic development leaders, are hoping changes in the law governing DOD’s industrial facilities will pave the way to increase the arsenal’s links to manufacturers.
Currently there are only a handful of such partnerships, which allow companies to use the facilities of the arsenal’s Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, or its employees. The fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, however, lifted the existing cap on the number of public-private partnerships the arsenal could establish and also streamlined the approval process, reported the Quad-City Times.
The new rules could boost the economy of the Quad-City area. “I think there’s a lot of promise. They have a unique capability,” Sam Kupresin, a vice president with Rock Island-based Mandus Group, said of the arsenal. A partnership between the arsenal and the Mandus Group provides the company a facility to refurbish howitzers for foreign countries.
With hundreds of billions of dollars in defense cuts looming, improving the skills of the arsenal’s workforce, along with increasing its utilization, is seen as one way to demonstrate the facility’s value.