January 22, 2020 – Colonel Stephen Marr, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison – Rock Island Arsenal, provided a presentation to the Commission. He manages services and facilities for the 946 acres Arsenal Island which has a significant global and strategic reach. The Garrison has three overall priorities:

  • Infrastructure – Addressing the urgent infrastructure challenges brought on by a decade of underinvestment
  • Protection – Focusing on installation protection exercises and full scale exercises
  • Soldier/Civilian/Family Programs – Programs and services designated to improve the readiness and resilience of soldiers, civilians, and families, in order to allow their people to focus on their missions

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, the Garrison itself, and the Civilian Human Resource Agency. 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 noted that RIA is the largest local employer in the Bi-State Region with 4,391 civilian, 1,293 military, and 573 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 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.

Since 1862, RIA has been a national treasure and cornerstone of the Bi-State Region. RIA was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, which includes 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 reported on the key activities of the installation including partnering with the community to host Red White and Boom and the Quad Cities Pops Concert; working with the education sector and holding a Superintendents Orientation; participating in the United Way Education Council; providing job retraining opportunities for prior installation staff; and collaborating with Western Illinois University and the Innovation Center. The Garrison continues to work on establishing intergovernmental support agreements for services with adjacent communities and licensure reciprocity for military families moving to the region. He noted the Lock and Dam locks are being replaced as well as RIA’s continued interest in re-establishing the hydroelectric plant capacity. The Civilian for Human Resource Agency and Army Petroleum Center are growing.

The 2020 RIA Integrated Priorities are:

  • Maximize the efficient use of limited resources on RIA IAW Army readiness priorities
  • Protect Department of Defense (DOD)and Army assets (people, infrastructure, and systems)
  • Ensure viable and productive programs remain available to the RIA workforce and residents
  • Ensure RIA remains a contributing member of the Quad Cities in a way that benefits the workforce
  • Contribute to Army readiness by maintaining experience and continuity in the RIA workforce
  • Ensure the welfare and safety of RIA residents and ensure RIA Army Family Housing remains a desired option
  • Strengthen mission assurance for critical DOD and Army mission requirements at RIA
  • Increase the number of developmental opportunities for the workforce and families
  • Leverage external programs to benefit the installation’s workforce and families