Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) demonstrates its ability to adapt to change by contributing to the Army’s continuing efforts to reshape how the Army trains, deploys, supplies, equips and garrisons military personnel.
Recently, the Army converted First U.S. Army Headquarters into the single Headquarters for oversight of Reserve and National Guard mobilization and demobilization. To support this conversion the Army decided to relocate First Army to Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, a more central location. Rock Island Garrison Manager Joel Himsl shared his insights on this and some significant changes that have occurred on Rock Island.
“The headquarters of First Army provides a totally new and different mission set to the Arsenal,” Himsl said.
First Army is responsible for the readiness, training, deployment and redeployment of all Reserve Component Soldiers including the Army National Guard.
“The Uncasing of the First Army red and white flag signifies that the unit, which moved from Georgia to the Rock Island Arsenal, is ‘open for business,’” Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek said. First Army now has over 300 soldiers and staff working in the Arsenal’s Building 68.
First Army is not the only transition that has occurred over the past year, “As a result of recent changes we have successfully completed the moves of five major organizations from Rock Island Arsenal to other locations and moved four new organizations to Rock Island Arsenal,” Himsl said.
To many civilian and military personnel on Rock Island Arsenal, these changes represent a new beginning of a new phase in their lives and careers. To others who transferred to jobs on or off the Arsenal, it means new associates at different organizations with new missions. To ECBC Rock Island, the addition of new missions means new opportunities and people to work with locally and stepping up efforts to enhance communication, technology tools, and business processes to provide service to both local, and worldwide customers.
“We have been improving our work processes in several areas in response to our commitment to customer service and continuous improvement,” ECBC Associate Director at Rock Island Nannette Ramsey said. “As the Chem-Bio engineering services provider to TACOM-LCMC, our sustainment engineering group and support teams are developing innovative technology and implementing collaboration tools to provide even better levels of support to our customers who have relocated to the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan and with the Defense Logistics Agency Defense Supply Center team in Columbus, Ohio.”
RIA has added the following new mission sets to its already diverse cross-section of Defense organizations:
- First Army increases the Soldier population by approximately 150, so the Military strength on RIA will be almost 900.
- The Quad City Cartridge Case Facility (QCCCF) adds a new dimension in manufacturing. The QCCCF is the DoD’s single manufacturer of large caliber cartridge cases such as the 105mm case for the Stryker main gun and the 5-inch cartridge for the Navy’s 5-inch gun.
- The Network Operations Center’s move to Rock Island provides the strategic long-haul communications capability for logisticians which directly support the Army Sustainment Command.
- The Army Contracting Command-Rock Island is adding 50 new employees and is renovating space to accommodate that growth with the potential for additional growth. The North Central Civilian Human Resources Agency is also adding 75 new employees as that organization restructures.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to move about 25 of its employees to Rock Island Arsenal from the Chicago area to establish a presence in the Quad City area.
- The Civil Support Readiness Group-East is responsible for training and certifying the readiness of Weapons of Mass Destruction response teams. Each State has such a team.
“The addition of First Army, which greatly enhances the training and readiness of our Reserve Component Soldiers and is critical to the combat readiness of our Army as a whole brings a three-star General,” Himsl said. “Not only did we gain a three-star, but he has two two-star deputies as well. As I think about it, we originally had two General Officers -- the two-star Army Sustainment Command (ASC) Commander and the one-star JMC Commander. End-state, we will have seven General Officers stationed at Rock Island Arsenal....and that is huge.”