U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Natick, MA 01760-5012
Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
Date: July 10, 2002
MassDevelopment CEO visits to learn about local partnerships
NATICK, Mass. -- The president and CEO of MassDevelopment learned about the Soldier Systems Center and literally got a taste of what's developed at Natick during a brief visit and tour July 1.
Michael Hogan, accompanied by Karen Sawyer, MassDevelopment chief of staff, Lynn Sand, MetroWest Chamber of Commerce economic development director, and Ted Welte, MetroWest Chamber of Commerce president, listened to briefings and asked questions related to keeping the Natick installation a vibrant national resource.
"You have a tremendous history of accomplishment here," Hogan said. "We certainly see you as an asset."
During the initial overview, he learned of the unique facilities, major programs such as Objective Force Warrior and National Protection Center, and economic impact of the Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts.
MassDevelopment offers the economic incentives of a quasi-public agency but operates like an entrepreneurial agency. Their mission is to help Massachusetts communities grow and prosper by stimulating economic development. They help by providing money or innovative ideas and solutions to developmental challenges.
When Hogan asked about the biggest problem facing Natick, he received a variety of answers from being overlooked by flashier programs to the flurry of changes happening within and outside the organization. To lose Natick would disrupt the people, partners and facilities necessary to supporting the warfighter.
Hogan said upcoming 2005 round of base closings will be the third time for him and noted that the majority of the closings have occurred north of the Mason-Dixon line. Even with all of the major programs and publicity, leaders told him the installation still lacks name recognition.
"The stealth role is a problem, even within the community," Hogan said. "It's repetition, repetition, and bring it home with something they understand. I think one of the things helpful for us is to have in the sound bite, play book telling who our partners are and jointness."
Natick currently has 46 active Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, 17 of which were formed in the past two years. During Hogan's visit of the Climatic Chambers, he sampled several varieties of rations developed here while learning about some of the significant Combat Feeding Program partnerships with Massachusetts businesses.
Objective Force Warrior fits into the suggestion Hogan made to tap into the Defense Department's emphasis on transformation. After a quick briefing on that program, he learned about a new partnership between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Natick with the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and then how Massachusetts General Hospital connects with Natick's U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine on the Warfighter Physiological Status Monitoring System. This part of his tour demonstrated how Natick is working with academia, government and industry to the benefit of the groups involved and the people they are serving.
"This is some amazing stuff to digest in half an hour," Hogan said, as he continued on to the Quad for an introduction to air beam technology and finally the Camouflage Facility to finish his tour.
Natick is part of the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM). For more information about SBCCOM or the Soldier Systems Center (Natick), please visit our website at http://www.sbccom.army.mil.
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