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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: Public Affairs Office

Date: August 28, 2007
No: 07-27

Kennedy staffers and Air Force senate liaison visit SSC

Sgt. Joshua Deveraux, U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center, demonstrates Future Force Warrior to staff members of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Graham Shalgian, left, and Jay Maroney, center, during their Aug. 15 visit to the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass. (Photo by Sarah Underhill.)

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NATICK, Mass. --   On Aug. 15, Jay Maroney, counsel for defense policy to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Graham Shalgian, issues director for Kennedy, and Col. Mike Chandler, U.S. Air Force senate liaison, visited the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (SSC) for an overview and briefings.

After the presentation about the SSC that included the subject of public/private partnerships, Maroney, Shalgian and Chandler got a quick look at some of the projects currently being researched at the Center.          

Advances in body armor were discussed, including future materials and the applicability to law enforcement. Maroney asked how long it takes to get an item to the field. Janet Ward from the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) explained that the SSC focuses on applied research and the time frame for fielding items varies depending on technology, but she said that researchers work to get items to Soldiers as soon as possible.

A briefing on clothing collaboration including displays of the updated Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard uniforms followed. Also mentioned was the Special Operations Forces Protective Combat Uniform, a layered system where pieces can be added or removed depending on the mission.

The visitors got to see a demonstration of the Future Force Warrior (FFW) system. This program looked at the Soldier from the skin out and came up with a system redesign for individual Soldier equipment with lighter weight and greater capabilities. FFW is scheduled to transition to the Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier in November of this year for future development and operational testing, with a projected fielding between 2012 and 2015.  A Physiological Status Monitor is anticipated to be included in FFW and Maroney, Shalgian and Chandler got a chance to see how this monitor works as well. The Law Enforcement Advanced Protection Support to Homeland Defense was also mentioned. Maroney was curious about technology that is ready now, and Dutch DeGay, NSRDEC, told him that there are approximately 10-12 items, such as the elbow and knee pads, that are being or have transitioned to PEO Soldier and are either being fielded now or will be in the field shortly.

SSC officials also discussed the High Performance Fiber Center of Excellence. This Center will allow Army researchers to sit and work directly with people from academia and private sector in this one-of-a-kind facility at Natick to invent and quickly transfer high performance fibers to our Warfighters and first responders. “We already have the infrastructure here [at SSC],” Jean Hebert of NSRDEC said, including that New England has a long history in the area of textiles.

A briefing and tour of the Doriot Climatic Chambers, mentioning the work that the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine performs, followed.

The Joint Precision Aerial Delivery System, the Thermal Test Facility and Collective Protection were other areas covered during the visit.

Closing out the briefings, two recent developments in the area of combat feeding, the First Strike Ration and the Unitized Group Ration – Express, were highlighted, followed by a ration sampling. After the sampling, Chandler said it was a, “great meal,” while Maroney said it all was very good.

Shalgian said, “It is always great to come out to look at the amazing work you do.” He mentioned that the Senator is a strong supporter of the work and always takes an opportunity to tell others about the work done at Natick.

Maroney said the visit was, “very impressive.”

This page last updated on 10 May 2006.