By Sgt. 1st Class Shannon Wright, ASC Public AffairsApril 8, 2014
MOLINE, Ill. -- The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast for local business executives and government officials where Maj. Gen. John Wharton, commanding general of U.S. Army Sustainment Command and senior mission commander of Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., spoke about the way ahead for RIA in an iWireless Center conference room here, April 4.
Wharton talked about RIA's story and what ASC's role is for the Army.
RIA houses ASC headquarters and several tenant units including First Army; Joint Munitions Command; Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center; Army Contracting Command -- Rock Island; Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District; the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center; and United States Army Garrison -- Rock Island.
"What I want you to know," said Wharton, "is that we're a command and control hub. This is where we are commanding and controlling global operations."
ASC's subordinate elements span the globe, including 73 logistics readiness centers "on every post, camp, station" in the Army, including overseas locations.
Wharton referred to the Arsenal as the center of the Department of Defense global supply chain, sustaining joint forces (Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps), including coalition partners and other DoD agencies, worldwide.
"We have an unprecedented end-to-end capability from an operational standpoint, but also an unprecedented end-to-end capability from the supply chain standpoint," Wharton said.
ASC has an Army Field Support Brigade regionally aligned with every combatant command, providing acquisition, logistics and technology-related sustainment support.
Wharton talked about how budget restrictions and troop reductions following the drawdown of two wars will affect the Arsenal.
"We were at a strategic inflection point, really it was about 2009, and we knew the money was coming down," said Wharton. "So, we had an option that we either had to get better with less or we were just not going to be as good. We knew the ends had to stay the same. We had to prevent, shape, and win, no matter what conflict."
"Prevent, shape, and win" is a phrase coined by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno and refers to what he calls the Army's three principal roles: First, prevent conflict; second, shape the environment through strong military relationships with allies; third, when necessary, win our nation's wars.
"What do we have to do to remain ready and relevant in the future?" asked Wharton. "How can we, as your Army, contribute to this Quad Cities community, and then, what is our collective strategy as we move down the road so that we can remain vibrant and productive?"
He indicated the importance of OCO (overseas contingency operations) funding explaining three additional years of it following a conflict is necessary to reset battle-worn equipment.
"It's a big unknown for us," he began. "We think we'll be good in (fiscal year) 2014, but the significance is what will we get and will this OCO funding come through? What does that equate to? It equates to, we're an Army coming out of war now."
He added that the Arsenal can't achieve these things alone, and support from the community is vital.
"We have to be with you hand-in-hand," he said. "And, we need your support in knowing what we do so you can go out and communicate that story."
Wharton said ASC awards $12 billion dollars annually in contracts. Of that number, the Quad Cities sees $35 million.
"The question is, how are we going to bring some of that business here to the Quad Cities," he said. The general continued to emphasize the importance of a mutual and "over-arching" strategy between the Arsenal and Quad Cities leaders.
"I do want to challenge us all," said Tara Barney, QC Chamber president and CEO. "We heard lots of opportunities to continue to build the relationship. I think we are beginning to understand how powerful this relationship is."
"Thank you for what you do for us, the Army, the Arsenal, and really, supporting our nation," Wharton said. "And, if I could tell you and teach you what we do, you'll get a better understanding, you'll understand the significance of the role that this command plays."
"I would thank you all, every one of you," said Barney, "for what you're doing for this country. Our military partners are in the business of protecting this country. You're in the business of building its economy."