ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Congressional staffers from Iowa and Illinois will be apprising elected officials on the status of Arsenal Island, its various missions and future following a day's worth of briefings here Aug. 13.

Such a visit is held annually and sponsored by the Rock Island Arsenal Development Group.

"The U.S. Army Sustainment Command is the home of U.S. Army logistics," Maj. Gen. John Wharton, commanding general of ASC and senior commander of RIA, told the group. He added that the command is the executing arm for its higher headquarters, the Army Materiel Command located in Huntsville, Ala.

The command has seven Army Field Support Brigades to facilitate this global mission and one Distribution Management Center, he said. The brigades are "the single face to the field" for AMC, Wharton said.

"The brigades are aligned to directly support combatant commanders," he added.

Wharton thanked the staffers for taking time to visit RIA and for their legislative interest and support on matters that affect the island.

He assured staffers that, despite the affects of sequestration, the warfighter remains the Army's No. 1 priority and will not compromise a Soldier's safety and well-being with sub-standard equipment and services.

Despite the budget uncertainty that sequestration has brought, Wharton did offer his vision for the way ahead or "branding" of the island.

ASC, he explained, is an $11 billion enterprise that sustains the Army and joint forces in support of combatant commanders. With a global presence in 17 countries and 28 states, ASC has about 70,000 personnel, ensuring Army readiness through the AFSBs and one DMC. It also is in charge of 73 Directorates of Logistics.

Closer to home, Wharton said RIA's vision is to be an integral partner in a vibrant Quad-Cities community. This community is actually made up of five cities -- Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The total population of the cities and outlying areas are estimated at 382,630.

Wharton said this partnership will lead to a growing, progressive, values-based community with global impact.

By 2020, Wharton said he would like to see RIA and ASC as the Army's logistics mission command hub and center, and be named Centers of Excellence for manufacturing and technology, global supply chain management, small business contracts, and Army civilian training. He also wants the island to be known for its innovations and implementation in information technology, green technology, energy, and the creation of more academic partnerships.

Even though Aug. 16 will be the sixth and last furlough Friday for the U.S Army Sustainment Command in fiscal 2013, some effects of sequestration will not be felt for another three to five years, one Senior Executive Service command member told the staffers.

Sequestration is a $487 billion reduction in the Department of Defense budget during a 10-year period which started this March under the Budget Control Act of 2011. It comes on top of cuts already budgeted by DoD to reduce expenditures during the same 10-year period, according to various news media reports.

Carl Cartwright, executive director for Field Support Cartwright, said that ASC is carrying out critically important work in Jordan in preparation for possible humanitarian missions that could result from the nearby civil war in Syria. It also operates base operations in camps in the Republic of Djibouti, a country located in the Horn of Africa, where counter-terrorism training is conducted. And he cited support to the State Department with offices in Iraq to name a few.

"We're planning on a month-to-month basis," said D. Scott Welker, deputy to the ASC commander, of resourcing, adding that it's hard to plan and make smart decisions.

Ensuing discussion summed up the affects of sequestration on operations, with the caveat that ASC's top priority is to support the warfighter:

0 It reduces ability to do important work impacting national security
0 Affects economies in communities where civilians live and work
0 Places a significant burden on finances with a 20 percent cut in pay during the furlough period
0 Has resulted in a hiring freeze, reduced training, overtime, and travel

And while sequestration in FY 2013 continues to make a significant impact, Welker said in FY 2014 ASC will have to make additional budget reductions.

Likewise, during FY 2013, Welker said, 46 percent of the ASC's overall budget was covered by contingency funding -- funding to support operations overseas in places like Afghanistan.

Funding, he said, will require realignment into the base budget versus funding from contingency operations.

The beginning of ASC can be traced to the mid-90s when it started out as the Army War Reserve Support Command.

The command has steadily transformed and grown into what it is today, Welker said, with more new missions based on world events and managing all Army DOLs located at nearly all Army installations.

"We have transformed to close logistics gaps and provide sourcing solutions for Army units," Welker said.

The staffers also received briefings during visits to the Joint Munitions Command, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Command, Army Contracting Command-Rock Island, First U.S. Army, and Installation Management Command. The group also met with union leaders.

Formed in 2003, Rock Island Arsenal Development Group's purpose to reduce the cost of Army installation overhead while maintaining a government-ready workforce. It markets, negotiates, leases and manages the administrative, manufacturing and warehouse spaces that are currently not being utilized by the Army, its website stated.

In attendance from RIADG was Jimmy Morgan, program director, and Tim Frye, site manager.