PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Sept. 26, 2013) -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh was at the Picatinny Arsenal Thursday, to assess the effect of sequestration on the installation's efforts in research, development, acquisition and lifecycle management of weapon systems and ammunition.

"This is a unique facility with a critically important mission; there really is no other government or industry counterpart to Picatinny," McHugh said, underscoring the arsenal's contribution to national security. "The workforce possesses knowledge and expertise that increases the lethality of the joint services warfighter."

Picatinny Arsenal was designated the Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, providing products and services to all branches of the U.S. military.

McHugh saw first-hand how the Army and Navy are working together to improve packaging, handling, storage and transportation of essential products and supplies.

"Regardless of what the budgetary climate might be, threats to our national security are always there, which is why ongoing research and development is needed to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the best equipment possible," McHugh said.

McHugh also acknowledged the strong support of the area's congressional delegation, and state and local government.

"This facility and its mission have benefited from our partnership with Senator Menendez, Senator Chiesa, and Representative Frelinghuysen, as well as the state and local community," he said. "We're grateful for their continued leadership and support."

The third largest employer in Northwestern New Jersey, Picatinny employs more than 4,800 federal and another 1,200 contractor employees.

The arsenal contributes more than $1.3 billion to New Jersey's economy and supports more than 10,500 New Jersey jobs in the private sector.