ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. (July 25, 2012) -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh designated Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center as a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for Add-on-Armor design, development and prototype fabrication.

In a memo from McHugh, he writes, "RIA-JMTC (Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center) possesses unique AoA (Add-on-Armor) skills and capabilities not shared by other industrial facilities in the Army, including design, producibility, development and prototyping efforts that extend beyond typical fabrication and packaging functions."

Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence, or CITE, certification will allow RIA-JMTC to enter into private/public partnerships to perform work which will enhance the maintenance core competencies.

"This Arsenal has been called on many times to provide armor solutions," said Col. James O. Fly Jr., commander of the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center. "This shows the Army's confidence in this Arsenal and the community to provide life saving armor for our Soldiers in harms way."

"This solidifies RIA-JMTC as the add-on-armor insurance policy for the warfighters," said Gary Taylor chief of strategic plans at RIA-JMTC. "Adding this partnering authority gives us a greater opportunity to reach for support further into the private sector."

Approximately 28,000 objective gunner protection kits, or OGPKs, and 5,600 overhead protection covers have been manufactured at RIA-JMTC. Both projects are for Humvees and mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, known as MRAPS, and are still current. In 2006, RIA-JMTC began manufacturing the common ballistic shield, or CBS, for Stryker vehicles and continues today. To date, more than 4,400 CBS kits have been manufactured. In addition, more than 785 squadron leader protection kits and 730 SLAT kits have been manufactured for Stryker.

This is the second CITE that was awarded to RIA-JMTC. In May 2009, Rock Island Arsenal-JMTC was named a CITE for mobile maintenance systems. RIA-JMTC is the only vertically integrated metal manufacturer in the Department of Defense.