By Michael Madrid
The Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) is part of the Army's Combat Capabilities Development Command. It functions as a military research and development installation that focuses on the fielding and sustainment of technology, food, clothes, shelters, airdrop systems, and much more. It's used by more than just Army personnel and hosts various academic, governmental, and industrial organizations. Let's take a closer look at what the center is all about.

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Overview of the NSSC

The NSSC is a Department of Defense (DoD) installation and stretches back to 1954. It consists of a diverse workforce that includes scientists, engineers, technologists, and equipment designers that work together to enhance our military's necessities. Their primary function is to provide America's military forces with research and development. They do this by testing materials such as textiles and combat rations, advanced technologies, and human performance in simulated environments. Additionally, the NSSC manages the technology, research, and development of our military's clothing, food, shelters, airdrop systems, and support items. A few examples of current research program priorities the NSSC researches include aspects of vulnerability, susceptibility, detectability, and chemical and biological protection. More specifically, the NSSC tests vulnerability through head protection and torso protection. By utilizing state-of-the-art materials, manufacturing techniques, and frequent tests, the NCCS increases the survivability of military personnel.

History of the NSSC

The Natick Soldier Systems Center has borne multiple names throughout the years, but it started in 1949 when Congress authorized its construction, naming it the Quartermaster Research Facility. Around twelve years later, in November 1962, it was renamed Natick Laboratories, and in 1992 it was rebranded as the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. Six years later, in 1998, the installation would be renamed to what we know today – the Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC). Today, the NSSC provides soldiers with updated body armor, uniforms, food, and much more.

Where Is the Natick Soldier Systems Center?

Known locally as "Natick Labs," the center is located in Natick, Massachusetts, approximately 18 miles west of Boston and not too far away from Hanscom AFB. The Natick SSC differs from your average military base because it's a small installation. To put it in perspective, there are no schools or child daycare centers in the area, and the population is slim to none. For example, the soldier center employs approximately 120 active-duty members, 1,500 federal civil servants, 200 civilian contractors, and 6,000 retirees. Need to get in touch? Here's the NSSC address:

Natick Soldier Systems Center Address

US Army Garrison-Natick 10 General Greene Avenue Natick, MA 01760

Surrounding Area

The Combat Capabilities Development Command is close to a few military bases. More specifically, the nearest commissary is 20 miles away at Hanscom Air Force Base, and Fort Devens is also located 28 miles from the installation. The NCCS is within 20 miles of the Boston metropolitan area and offers military members plenty of entertainment and sports to enjoy during their free time. It's around three miles from the Natick Collection, the largest mall in New England and home to over 200 retail stores and restaurants. Lastly, it hosts the world-famous Boston Pops Orchestra and multiple historic Revolutionary War battlefields. So, even though the NCCS is small, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy by yourself or with family and friends.

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Image: U.S. Army



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