Federal budget troubles will force a new look at the largest regional employer.
That's the word from Sen. Dick Durbin, (D) Illinois, on the Rock Island Arsenal.
It's a crossroads for the Arsenal these days. Sen. Durbin now chairs an influential subcommittee that handles $600 billion in spending.
"I value this Arsenal," he said, following meetings there on Wednesday. "I'll be a seat at the table when it comes to discussing its future."
A future that's getting a second look once again. Budget cuts and sequestration are taking a toll. Furloughs and uncertainty remain on the horizon. That's creating a hardship for the workforce.
"Some of my colleagues in Washington argue the sequestration has come and gone, nobody's even noticed," he said. "Well, they ought to come to the Arsenal. They ought to visit with the families. They've noticed."
Defending the Arsenal becomes even more challenging during difficult times. That includes federal finances and new threats abroad.
As factory work slows with war efforts winding down, North Korea is creating new concerns. That sounds a wake-up call for defense spending and the Arsenal.
"Our military, the best in the world, has to be prepared for the possibility of America's security being breached or attacked," Sen. Durbin said. "It's happened before. It can happen again."
While the Arsenal waits for reassurances, Sen. Durbin takes the message of its mission back to Washington.
"Making sure that we tell the taxpayers this is money well spent for our defense," he concluded.
At the Rock Island Arsenal, all about investing in the future.