Arsenal contractors support security review

Posted on: 2:40 pm, September 18, 2013, by , updated on: 03:17pm, September 18, 2013

President Obama is ordering a closer look at government contractor and employee security. That’s after the deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

The issue hits close to home at the Rock Island Arsenal. Some 7,000 people work there. It’s the region’s top employer.

Thousands of cars come to the Arsenal each day. That includes military and civilian workers. Nearly 1,100 contractors also use badges to enter Arsenal Island.

“When you go to work, you don’t think we’re going to have a tragedy today,” said Craig Roberts, president and CEO of Vista International Group.

Vista is one of many public-private partnerships at the Arsenal. The company employs about 50 workers on the Island and some 400 worldwide.

“The Arsenal takes protective measures, and they take that very seriously,” he said.

Security standards will now get a closer look under the presidential mandate.

“This is obviously a matter that the president believes, and has believed, merits review,” said Obama spokesman Jay Carney.

While the security evaluation is important to the military, it’s also crucial to any civilian business during these changing times.

The Mandus Group works closely with the Rock Island Arsenal. Military projects keep workers busy on and off Arsenal Island.

“I think it’s important that we try to identify people who have issues, so they can be helped,” said retired Rear Admiral Sam Kupresin, who is the company’s vice president.

Vista considers security and emergency preparedness to be part of continual improvement. The company enhances Arsenal drills by conducting its own yearly exercises with live simulations.

“We go through the processes of how to respond and react to different types of emergencies, disasters and be prepared,” Roberts said.

Roberts hopes that the review will identify ways that the Arsenal can improve as a safe workplace.

“Something like this really makes you think about family,” he said. “It makes you think about the people you work with. It makes you think about things that are really important.”

It’s preparation with safety in mind.

“It touches everybody when something like this happens,” Kupresin said.  “The Arsenal is a very secure island.”

It’s something that Arsenal workers are thinking about.

“I feel very safe there,” Roberts concluded.