The Soldier Systems Center (SSC) in Natick, MA hosts a variety of supplies and organizations to support military members and their families. As a “one-stop” soldier support organization, it contains several departments and facilities involved in research, development, and management of supplies used by the armed forces. SSC's mission is to offer American soldiers supreme products by testing them to withstand harsh conditions, and examines items such as equipment, food, clothing, and shelters. The SSC’s wide range of services makes it an important aid to all branches of the US military.
Though the SSC’s aim to provide top-of-the-line military necessities has stayed the same, its departments have undergone several changes to their designations and assignments. The center began as a Quartermaster Research Facility (QRF) when authorized by Congress in 1949. It was later named Quartermaster Research and Development Center, and then again renamed Quartermaster Research and Engineer Command (QREC).
Not long after, the QREC was named “Natick Laboratories” and added the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine begin its diversification of services. Furthering its initiatives, the center activated the Food and Container Institute in 1962 and the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility in 1967.
Following the addition of these specialized departments was a series of different assignments, from AMC to DARCOM, and finally, ATC. In the 1990s the center found even more ways to help the military, establishing a U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command (1994), Sustainment & Readiness Directorate (1995), Product Manager-Soldier Support (1995), Clothing and Services Office (1996), and Product Manager-Soldier Support Provider (1997) at its location in Natick. When the Sustainment & Readiness Directorate became the Integrated Material Management Center and the Soldier Systems Command merged with the Chemical Biological Defense Command in 1998, the facility finally settled on its current name, the United States Army Soldier Systems Center.
Soldier System Center Mission
The facility is technically an Army support center, but is able to service the Navy, Air Force, and Marines as well. The center is also considered a cross-service facility that cooperates with other institutions in the Greater Boston Area.
Tenant Units include:
- S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC)
- S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM)
- S. Army Installation Management Command
- S. Army Integrated Logistics and Support Center (ILSC)
- S. Coast Guard Clothing Design and Technical Office (CDTO)
- S. Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility
- Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier
- S. Army Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems
Products and Systems provided include:
- MRE (Meal, Ready-to-eat)
- Irradiated Food
- “Instant Chapel”
- Bulletproof Clothing
- Collective Protection Shields
- Quarpel (stain-resistant water repellent for textiles)
If you plan on just visiting, there are several options less than 2 miles from the SSC:
- Hampton Inn Boston Natick (1.1 mi): (508) 653-5000
- Travelodge Natick (1.3 mi): (508) 655-2222
- Crowne Plaza Boston-Natick (1.4 mi): (617) 969-3010
If you plan to live on or near the base, contact (508) 233-5409/5216/4073 (8am-5pm) or email [email protected]
The Soldier Systems Center is extremely family-friendly, offering local facilities for recreation and education.
To find school options available near the center, contact the Natick Soldier Systems Center Liaison Office at (508) 233-5377 for enrollment.
Soldier System Center MWR
- CPT James Burt Fitness Center (mon-fri 8am-3:30pm) offers lunchtime fitness classes, intramural sports, and off-post fitness program (Active Duty only).
- William Lord Community Recreation Center (mon-fri 8am-3:30pm) offers multipurpose rooms and newly renovated lounge.
- Boss Strong Team Challenge: a free competition using peer-to-peer support, challenging soldiers with a comprehensive approach to fitness.