Arsenal prepares to adapt to change


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Originally Posted Online: March 21, 2013, 10:30 pm
Last Updated: March 21, 2013, 11:38 pm
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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

DAVENPORT -- In a time of challenges and declining resources, the Rock Island Arsenal will have to adapt.

Army Brig. Gen. John F. Wharton, who took command of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command in September, envisions solidifying the Arsenal's role as the major logistical hub of the military, supplying combat troops with what they need.

The Arsenal must figure out how best to complete its mission as military funding decreases, he told local government officials and business leaders on Thursday at the Figge Art Museum.

"We're going to get less (money)," he said. "So how do we get better?"

Brig. Gen. Wharton said the military is still deeply involved in Afghanistan, and this may be the first time that defense spending has been cut with major military operations still under way. Traditionally, American defense spending spikes significantly during wartime and declines once the conflict is over.

Part of the shift he sees for the Arsenal is looking at other opportunities, such as roles involving information technology or business.

The Arsenal's challenges lie in a variety of areas -- from security and energy to social and economic. They include making sure its information infrastructure is secure and working to embrace more green energy within its operations.

"Like any organization, we're adapting along the way," he said.

Brig. Gen. Wharton also said he wants the Arsenal to be an integral part of a successful Quad-Cities. He thanked area representatives for how the community has conducted itself in relation to the Arsenal.

The island is the area's largest employer. Its employees have an average salary of more than $77,000, and the Arsenal pumps millions of dollars into the area economy, according to information provided during the general's talk.

He said that among the things the Quad-Cities brings to its relationship with the Arsenal are values and sincerity -- something not always found in similar relationships.

The sustainment command, created in 2006, includes about 300 military personnel, 2,200 civilian employees and 70,000 contractor employees. It provides front-line logistical support to U.S. combat forces wherever and whenever they're deployed, he noted.

The Army Materiel Command, part of the ASC, employs about 4,000 people at the Arsenal.

Brig. Gen. Wharton took over from D. Scott Welker, a civilian member of the senior executive service who had led the ASC for several months. Mr. Welker stayed on as deputy to the commander.





















 



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  Today is Friday, Sept. 19, the 262nd day of 2014. There are 103 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Charles M. Osborn of this city, a lawyer of prominence, who voted for Lincoln in 1860 is now out strong for McClellan and will take the stump for him.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The George Fleming company had begun its dried fruit packing in a branch plant on 16th Street, Rock Island, employing nearly a hundred workers.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The cornerstone of the new Eagles home was laid. Building committee members were John Kobeman, Fred Ehmke and Frank Wich.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Former Kaiser Wilhelm, in exile, is sad as the Nazis march with communists.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Ninety-two members of the acappella choir at Davenport's West High School today accepted an invitation to perform at the New York World's Fair on June 13, 1965.
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