January 23, 2019 – Colonel Stephen Marr, Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) Garrison Commander, provided a presentation to the Commission. He manages services and facilities for the 950 acre (1.5 square mile) Arsenal Island.
The Garrison has four overall priorities:

  • Infrastructure - Addressing the urgent infrastructure challenges brought on by a decade of underinvestment
  • Protection - Focusing on installation and full scale protection
  • Soldier/Civilian Employee Programs - Improving the readiness and resilience of individual soldiers and civilians
  • Family Programs - Improving the readiness and resilience of Army families, in order to allow soldiers to focus on their military occupation

RIA houses seven major Commands that reach 32 states and 20 countries, including Army Sustainment Command, Joint Munitions Command, Army Contracting Command, First Army, Army Corps of Engineers, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, and the Garrison itself. 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 Marr said that RIA is the largest local employer in the region with 4,523 civilian, 1,115 military, and 550 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.

The Rock Island Arsenal is the only full-service Army installation in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. It supports more than 54K active, reserve, and retired military; civilian employees; and family members within a 150-mile radius. RIA is home to over 60 Department of Defense organizations and private companies with a global impact.

Special aspects of RIA include being designated a National Historic Landmark in1988; historic Quarters One built in 1871; the swing-span bridge completed in 1896; the Browning Museum built in 1905 (the Army’s second oldest); the Clock Tower Building built in1867; the hydroelectric plant built in 1901; the National Cemetery established in 1863 and still active; the Arsenal Island Golf Course established in1897; and Fort Armstrong established in 1816.

Colonel Marr 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.

Colonel Marr reported on the key initiatives of the Garrison involving partnerships with school districts and inter-governmental support agreements for services with adjacent communities.

Quarters One and the golf course is being developed into a shared asset with the community through an enhanced use lease with a private developer. Proposals are due in March with the hope that a new operator will be in place this year. Transforming RIA will also involve maintaining and improving the infrastructure including the hydroelectric dam and utilities through the Defense Community Infrastructure Program.

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.