WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- The Watervliet Arsenal signed an agreement this week with Mandus Group Ltd. to establish the framework for the mutual sharing of expertise and capability in the field of cannon production. The goal of this partnership is to explore opportunities that will enhance Department of Defense readiness, while also reducing government costs for products manufactured at the Arsenal.

"Given today's heated competition for Department of Defense dollars and the future of significant cost-cutting to reduce the defense budget, new relationships with non-traditional partners makes sense," Arsenal Commander Col. Mark F. Migaleddi said. "Today's agreement will better leverage the unique capabilities of Mandus and the Arsenal, from product design to manufacturing, to create a synergy previously unknown at the Arsenal."

In continuous operation since 1813, today's Arsenal is relied upon by U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high tech, high powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. The Watervliet Arsenal is also the home to the Army's Benét Laboratories, which is the Army's premier research and design facility for large caliber weapons. Mandus has a previously signed Cooperative Research and Design Agreement (CRADA) with Benét Laboratories.

"It is truly an honor to partner with the Watervliet Arsenal, which has a superb reputation and a worldwide presence in cannon manufacturing," said Sam H. Kupresin, vice president of Mandus Group. "Throughout my 32 years of naval service, I have often heard of the Watervliet Arsenal and of Benét Laboratories and so, we hope to be a valuable partner by bringing something to the table."

The Mandus Group, which is located in Rock Island, Ill., has significant expertise in engineering and quality manufacturing of artillery life cycle support systems. Although its core business is to provide support to U.S. Army and Marine Corps, the company does offer its services to customers worldwide. Kupresin is a retired rear admiral of the U.S. Navy.

Public-Private partnerships are more important than ever for the Watervliet Arsenal to remain competitive and relevant to the Department of Defense. These types of agreements leverage unique capabilities of each partner toward a common goal and at the end of the day, the military will have a better product that may come at a cost savings to the taxpayer.