Secretary of the Army praises the future at Rock Island Arsenal

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL - As the Army reforms the way it does business, the Rock Island Arsenal must change along with it.  That means adapting during challenging times.

"I think its strength is not just where it is today, but where it's going," said Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper.

Secretary Esper made his first visit to the Arsenal on Wednesday, July 18.  It's a chance to talk about Army Vision 2028.  That's his strategy for efficient expansion over the next decade.

"It has the great promise of providing quality products on time at much less cost than we had in the past," he said.

The Arsenal remains  the area's top employer with some 6,100 workers.  While it nearly closed for good in 2005, it's poising to survive another possible Base Realignment and Closure Hearing in 2021.

"Where General Perna is taking Rock Island Arsenal with respect to additive manufacturing is really going to be critical to our Army mission going forward," he continued.

Current leaders say the Arsenal draws its strength from the Quad Cities.  In coming years, it will work to build academic and industrial partnerships to help it adapt.

"To make sure that they are thinking about the talent that they can develop to help us have a vibrant, sustained, young workforce," he said.

Just two weeks ago, the Army launched its Futures Command in Austin, Texas.  It will play a key role in revisions, but there should be strong opportunities close to home.

"It's very exciting," he concluded.  "There's a good future ahead."

Described as a national treasure, the Rock Island Arsenal is aiming to stay that way.