General warns that Rock Island Arsenal needs predictable and consistent funding

DAVENPORT -- A four-star general warns that short-term budgets and sequestration will severely impact military readiness.

"We need to have predictable and consistent funding," said Gen. Gus Perna, during a session with reporters on Wednesday, March 29.

Gen. Perna commands a global organization worth $50 billion, plus 120,000 military and civilian employees around the world.

A chunk of that work takes place at the Rock Island Arsenal.

"I will ensure that the workload that we need to do to maintain equipment readiness will go to the right spots," he said.  "Rock Island plays a very important part in that."

Important, because the Arsenal nearly closed for good in 2005. It must be ready for the next round of base closings.

"It's about quality because our equipment goes to the battlefield," he continued.  "It's about giving it to the commanders when they ask for it."

Readiness and a strong workforce may be the best insurance for preserving the region's second largest employer.

With some 5,600 employees, it only trails Deere & Company.

"You don't bring this type of workforce in overnight," said Gen. Perna.  "They're trained.  They're mature.  They're experienced."

The Arsenal can build on that strength with more public-private partnerships. They involve the community, develop training and experience when a crisis returns.

"I think it makes us stronger," Gen. Perna said.  "I'm a big advocate of executing this, and I invite all of industry to be a part."

At the Rock Island Arsenal, they're working to build a future by following his clear mandate.

"We do it to the highest quality, and we do it on time," he concluded.