September 27, 2017 – Colonel Kenneth Tauke, Rock Island Arsenal (RIA), gave his final presentation to the Commission before his time as RIA Garrison Commander concludes in summer 2018. He manages services and facilities for the 950 acre (1.5 square mile) Arsenal Island.
RIA houses five Commands that reach 40 states and19 countries, including Army Sustainment Command, Joint Munitions Command, Army Contracting Command, First Army, and Army Corps of Engineers. The regional reach may also be demonstrated through the distribution of the employees of RIA that are 48% from Iowa and 52% from Illinois.
Colonel Tauke said that RIA is the largest local employer in the region with 5,261 civilian, 1,103 military, and 572 contracted employees; 42% of this workforce are veterans. The induced employment impact of RIA is over 14,000 community jobs. Salaries average $75,989, and the local economic impact of is over $1.2 billion per year.
Colonel Tauke also reported on the campaign plan for the island and focus areas including integrating the RIA with the larger Quad Cities community, adapting to a 21st century workforce, improving the quality of life, transforming the functionality of the installation, and focusing on infrastructure and sustainability.
RIA is the historical and geographic center of the Quad Cities and should be promoted to the community and the rest of the nation as such. Colonel Tauke advocates partnerships with academia on training opportunities as well as cultivation of future workers, and he would like to see expanded school and medical partnerships. RIA is working on Army family housing with two construction projects totaling over $46 million that will provide 71 new homes to improve the quality of life on Arsenal Island.
Additionally, RIA should be transformed to provide space for more manufacturing operations and collaboration with private companies. Quarters One and the golf course will be developed into a shared asset with the community through a Request for Proposal process to create an Enhanced Use Lease with a private developer. Transforming RIA will also involve maintaining and improving the infrastructure including the hydroelectric dam and utilities because RIA is working towards energy self-sufficiency or “net zero.” Sustainability of the installation will demonstrate the Rock Island Arsenal’s importance and viability to the community and the nation.
In closing, Colonel Tauke said that RIA is an installation with a strategic global reach, and if it were a corporation, RIA would be a Fortune 100 company in league with Deere and Company and Arconic. RIA is committed to being a collaborative federal, public-private center of excellence to meet the readiness needs of the Army and support the economic prosperity of the greater Quad Cities Region.