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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: September 29, 2003
No: 03-31

Natick Soldier Center wins prestigious Army award

NATICK, Mass. -- For the second time in the past three years, the Natick Soldier Center (NSRDEC) at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center has been selected Department of the Army Research and Development Laboratory (Small) of the Year. The award will be presented at the Army Acquisition Corps Ball in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5.

Evaluation committee members reviewed the Army organizations using the same rigorous standards that would be applied to a commercial research and development center or academic institution. Unlike previous years, in which organizations voluntarily competed, every Army research and development organization was required to submit a nomination for the 2003 competition.

"You had to be really good to win. The committee had a high bar that an organization had to exceed to be considered as a candidate for the win. This was not simply a 'best of a poor lot' type of competition," Philip Brandler, NSRDEC director, said during a town hall meeting with the NSRDEC work force Sept. 12 where he gave the same presentation as in the competition. "This competition is also part of a larger process to evaluate all the Army research and development organizations. I'd like to see NSRDEC winning the competition become a regular event."

Eight organizations fall into the Department of the Army's small category, each with no more than 700 employees. NSRDEC has about 500 employees.

Selection for the most prestigious award the Army bestows upon a research and development organization is based on an extensive evaluation of the organization's vision, strategy, and business plans; technical accomplishments, such as technology breakthroughs, rapid improvements for troops, transition of technology and their impact on customer satisfaction throughout the Department of Defense; resource use, including professional certification and development of the technical staff, state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and process improvements.

Organizations first submitted a written document and then each organization's director gave a summary presentation addressing the competition criteria before an evaluation committee with senior representatives from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions Logistics and Technology, Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Defense University, National Academy of Engineering, Lawrence Livermore Labs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Korn/Ferry International, E.I. DuPont, General Electric and NEC Research Institute.

At the end of the presentation, each member asked at least one question to further explore the worthiness of the organization being evaluated.

Brandler's presentation addressed NSRDEC's core capabilities: soldier-related technology generation, application, and transition enabling rapid fielding of the right equipment; soldier systems technology integration and transition; and solving soldier-related field problems rapidly.

Brandler went on to provide specific examples that demonstrated the NSRDEC's accomplishments in each of its core capabilities. Examples ranged from new breakthroughs in fiber research and nanotechnology to providing "on the ground" support and technical solutions to deployed forces; all meant on improving the survivability, combat effectiveness and sustainability of the individual soldier.

He focused on NSRDEC's major technical accomplishment in developing the Scorpion, a combat specific soldier platform that provides a protective head-to-toe ensemble for the Army's premier soldier technology effort, Objective Force Warrior.

Brandler showed how NSRDEC's funding is increasing significantly because of strong customer focus and strategic program planning. He also highlighted the vigorous growth in scientific and engineering staff, the high quality of the new staff as well as the commitment to self-improvement of the existing staff, emphasizing the critical importance of the human capital that drives the organization's success.

"Receipt of this highly prestigious award is a tremendous credit to the outstanding individual and collective efforts of everyone at the Natick Soldier Center," Brandler said. "It is an honor that we, along with our installation support staff and partners, share in achieving."

For more information about Natick Soldier Center or the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center, please visit our website at

This page last updated on 28 February 2003.