The United States Army Soldier Systems Center (SSC) is a military research complex and installation in Natick, Massachusetts charged by the U.S. Department of Defense with the research and development (including fielding and sustainment) of food, clothing, shelters, airdrop systems, and other servicemember support items for the U.S. military. The installation includes facilities from all the military services, not just the Army, and is so configured to allow cross-service cooperation and collaboration both within the facility and with the many academic, industrial and governmental institutions in the Greater Boston Area.
The SSC is sometimes called the Natick Army Labs, although this designation more properly refers to one of its tenant units, the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC).
Construction of the Quartermaster Research Facility at Natick, authorized by Congress in October 1949, began in November 1952. A year later, the QRF was redesignated as the Quartermaster Research and Development Center and four years later as the Quartermaster Research and Engineering Command.
July 1961 saw the activation of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine at Natick and a year later the QREC was placed under the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). In November 1962, the QREC was redesignated as Natick Laboratories and the following year the Food and Container Institute moved to Natick. July 1967 saw the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility relocate to Natick.
Natick Laboratories became a subordinate element to the Troop Support Command in July 1973 and was redesignated two years later as the U.S. Army Natick Development Center and reassigned to the AMC. The NDC was redesignated the U.S. Army Natick Research and Development Command in January 1976 and assigned to the U.S. Army Materiel Development and Readiness Command. (The same month, AMC was redesignated the U.S. Army Materiel Development and Readiness Command (DARCOM).)
Conduct research, development, acquisition and sustainment to maximize combat effectiveness and survivability of freedom’s defenders. The U.S. Army NSSC will be the leader of the research, development, acquisition and sustainment of freedom’s defenders.
NSSC’s goal is simple: Provide America’s Soldiers with the best equipment in the world. To achieve this goal, the Natick team has consolidated full life-cycle management of Soldier items into a one-stop, Soldier support organization.
For more information on the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center, please contact the Natick Public Affairs Office at (508) 233-4300 or DSN 256-4300.