On Thursday, August 13, 2015, Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst said the Rock Island Arsenal has not been impacted by the U.S. Army's cuts, so far.
In July, the U.S. Army said it would cut 40,000 troops and 17,000 civilian employees over the next two years. Thursday, Ernst toured the island for the first time, visiting the Joint Manufacturing Technology Center.
"We also employ a lot of Iowans in this facility" Ernst said. "Both civilian and military members are here."
Ernst says it is good news that the Arsenal hasn't seen any cuts, but there still could be job loss, especially if sequestration, or automatic spending cuts happen, when fiscal year 2016 begins.
"It is always possible," Ernst said of the job loss. "I would never say never. That's why we do have to stay on top of this. But again, downsizing our forces today I think is a terrible mistake."
Ernst said that national defense spending is a top priority of hers, but at the same time, she says every U.S. Department needs to work more efficiently, including the Department of Defense.
"We need that strategy all across the federal government," Ernst said Thursday. "If we do that, we can bolster our national defense and find savings in other areas."
Ernst would not say specifically what departments should be cut the most. Automatic spending cuts would start again on October 1, 2015, when the new fiscal year begins.