About SSC

Public Affairs Office

Press Releases

The Warrior

SSC-Natick Press Release

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

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

Date: November 18, 2004
No: 04-44

Natick Soldier Center wins Lab of Year

NATICK, Mass. -- For the third time in the past four years, the Natick Soldier Center (NSC) at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center here, has won the Department of the Army Research and Development of the Year Award (Small Development Lab Category).

Claude M. Bolton Jr., assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology and Army acquisition executive, presented the 2004 award at the Army Acquisition Ball in Arlington, Va., Oct. 24.

A group of science and technology experts assembled by the Army judged the competition, ranking the results based on a written report and oral presentation delivered by Philip Brandler, NSC director.

"Being recognized as the Army Small Development Lab of the Year for the third time in four years is an outstanding accomplishment for the Natick Soldier Center that reflects upon the high quality of our work force, as well as the significant collaborative relationships we maintain with our corporate and academic partners, and the DoD partners collocated with us at the Soldier Systems Center," Brandler said.

Selection for the most prestigious award the Army bestows upon a research and development organization is based on extensive evaluation of the organization's vision, strategy and business plans; strategic management of human capital; competitive sourcing; improved financial performance; use of expanded electronic government; budget and performance integration; major management achievements; and major technical achievements.

This year, many of the criteria chosen for evaluation were directly linked to the president's management agenda. The NSC used its balanced scorecard strategic map to link resources, human capital, business practices and strategic initiatives to its core competencies of warrior-related technology generation, application and transition; warrior systems technology integration and transition; and solving warrior and warrior support-related field problems rapidly.

NSC's vision is to be the recognized center of choice for individual warrior-related technologies and warrior systems, and internationally known as a pre-eminent provider of Soldier-related research, development, engineering and integration services.

Identified as its most significant management accomplishment, partnering and leveraging helps the NSC to achieve its vision. NSC's nomination highlighted partnerships with Malden Mills for protective clothing, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with their Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies focused on creating new materials to dramatically improve the survival of Soldiers, the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies for biologically-derived or inspired materials for sensors, electronics and information processing, and the MIT Auto-ID Center, which is revolutionizing the supply management chain with radio frequency identification.

NSC chose its Joint Precision Airdrop System Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program (JPADS ACTD) to highlight as a significant technical accomplishment. Ranked the No. 2 priority by Defense Department's Joint Requirements Oversight Council, JPADS enables warfighters to have equipment or supplies airdropped precisely where they want them to minimize ground troop detection, and dramatically reduce risk to the aircraft and aircrew from enemy fire.

Other advantages are smaller and more numerous drop zones, and multiple load delivery to multiple destinations from one release point. A technology segment from the ACTD transitioned through NSC's installation partner, Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems, for initial fielding in July in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

NSC's nomination also demonstrated the crucial role it plays in supporting the Global War on Terror and homeland security. Most significant was support to Special Operations Forces for individual and small unit equipment.

The Raven handheld Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Protective Combat Uniform, and Low Visibility Body Armor Vest are a few examples of individual and small-unit items that were fielded in short notice to support ongoing operations in Southwest Asia.

"This award also underscores the significant impact that the Natick Soldier Center is having on the Global War on Terrorism, particularly as it relates to Soldier survivability, sustainment and quality of life in the field." Brandler said. "The Army and all of DoD enjoy the advantages we gain from the technology hub that surrounds us and our ability to access it for the benefit of the Soldier."

For more information about the Soldier Systems Center or the NSC, please visit our website at

This page last updated on 23 January 2004.