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.
Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital. 1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post . 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.