January 22, 2014 – William Takakoshi with Hurt, Norton & Associates, Inc. presented information on legislative efforts and issues related to the Rock Island Arsenal. Hurt, Norton has been working for the Quad Cities Area on Arsenal issues since 1998 and has assisted with many legislative issues amounting to over $100 million in accomplishments.
Mr. Takakoshi recommended thanking the legislators that serve the Bi-State Region and their staff for the items that support the Arsenal in the FY 2014 Omnibus appropriations bill and the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA). The knowledge of funding levels over 2014 ($520 billion) and 2015 ($521 billion) allows the Department of Defense to plan as opposed to dealing with continuing resolutions. In addition, $150 million was provided for Industrial Mobilization Capacity for arsenals in the United States. However, a 20% cut to all Army headquarters was announced months ago. It is not known what will make up the 20% cut, but likely all segments of the Army will be touched, and these cuts will impact employment on the island.
He emphasized the importance of Senator Durbin’s position as Chairman of the Senate Defense Subcommittee. This position has been key historically in the Pentagon, and the senator's knowledge of the Arsenal will be helpful. He noted Congressman Loebsack is on the House Armed Services Committee. Representative Frelinghuysen of New Jersey was recently appointed Chairman of the House Defense Subcommittee. Representative Frelinghuysen represents Picatinny, New Jersey and has been a champion of the Picatinny Arsenal. This change makes Senator Durbin’s position even more important to balance Department of Defense decisions.
The Arsenal Support Program Initiative(ASPI) promotes the commercial use of underutilized capacity at arsenal facilities by partnering with private sector partners. The program is sunsetting so companion language is needed to maintain the existing partnerships leasing space on the Arsenal. He also noted the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center is important to protecting the Island from Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) because the factory would be difficult to move to another location. However, he does not believe a BRAC will occur until 2017 following the 2016 presidential election.