SSC-Natick Press ReleaseU.S. Army Soldier Systems
Public Affairs Office
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Date: September 8, 2008
technology to assist First Responders discussed during visit of
Mass. Secretary of Public Safety and Security
Secretary of Public Safety and Security for Massachusetts,
Kevin M. Burke, and the Undersecretary of Homeland Security,
Juliette Kayyem, stand with a manikin displaying the Law
Enforcement Advanced Protection (LEAP) uniform while
visiting the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick,
Mass., on Aug. 21. (Photo by Richard Walunas.)
Click for Larger Photo
NATICK, Mass. -- On
Aug. 21, the Secretary of Public Safety and Security for
Massachusetts, Kevin M. Burke, and the Undersecretary of Homeland
Security, Juliette Kayyem, visited the U.S. Army Soldier Systems
Center (SSC) here.
After an overview about the installation and the types of research
and development work that is performed at the SSC, Burke and Kayyem
received briefings on some specific programs and equipment.
Dave Carney, National Protection Center (NPC), spoke about how after
the Oklahoma City bombings, the government began looking to improve
capabilities for first responders. The NPC works to help accomplish
this by their work on standards, specifically in regard to personal
“There are very few standards in place,” he said. “There are gaps
between what groups have, want and are available to them.”
Carney continued by explaining how the NPC looks at streamlined
Soldiers and sees what capabilities could be used for the first
responder and/or law enforcement community.
“Soldiers and first responders have some of the same issues,” he
said. “Bulk, weight, heat, compatibility.” Mentioning that the NPC
works in close conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police,
Carney mentioned that the organization has subject matter experts
who can work with first responders and assist them by doing surveys,
ergonomic assessments and more.
After a briefing on ballistic protection, Jeremy Whitsitt of the
Combat Feeding Directorate (CFD) showed the visitors the Unitized
Group Ration – Express (UGR-E), which can be used for remote
feeding. Often called the “kitchen in a carton,” the UGR-E is a
complete self-heating meal in a box.
“We have tested them at high altitude, cold environments and they
are being used in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Whitsitt said. “They
perform well for us. We recently worked with the NPC to see if first
responders could also benefit.”
Carney said they have been working with the Department of Homeland
Security Commercialization Office to commercialize the UGR-E. The
idea is the meals could be provided for first responders on a scene,
not for a civilian population, he continued.
Burke joked that Kayyem wanted them for her house for winter.
After a visit to a CFD microbiology lab and a discussion on food
safety, the visitors got a chance to see the Doriot Climatic
Chambers, which can simulate an extreme range of global weather
conditions. Kayyem thought the Chambers were “interesting.”
Maj. William Latzka, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental
Medicine (USARIEM), spoke on the Warfighter Physiological Status
Monitor (WPSM) in addition to the Chambers. The WPSM lets an
observer view heart rate, respiration and core temperature from a
remote location. Although USARIEM is doing research for military
medical personnel, their researchers see other uses. Latzka
mentioned how USARIEM worked with the National Guard 1st
Civil Support Team (CST) from Wellesley during training exercises to
test the WPSM. The group had been looking for a medical monitoring
telemetry system and the partnership let the CST see the item’s
capabilities and USARIEM researchers got to see how the WPSM would
perform in a real environment.
Information and displays from the Product Manager Force Sustainment
Systems team were next, and Burke and Kayyem were especially
interested in the Force Provider System. Force Provider is the
Army’s premier base camp. It is a containerized, highly deployable
“city.” Force Provider is a compilation of military and commercial
products containing all the material necessary to provide
climate-controlled billeting, quality food and dining facilities,
hygiene services, laundry systems and Morale, Welfare and Recreation
facilities to support approximately 600 personnel.
Kayyem inquired about the cost and the size. Mike Hope, Force
Provider Team, said for the entire base camp, the cost is $11
million, but that includes everything except fuel and water.
“Everything else, down to bath towels, is included,” he said.
Mentioning that for 600 people, the containers fit on eight C-17
aircraft, he said the base camp takes up approximately five acres.
He also told the visitors about an expeditionary system for Force
Provider that is modular and supports 150 personnel.
A water reuse system that the team is finishing testing was another
topic discussed. “It recaptures 75 percent of the water,” Hope said,
“which not only provides huge savings but it also takes Soldiers off
Chemical and biological protective shelters, including liner
systems, filtration systems, and cost, were another area that the
visitors showed a lot of interest in.
The day closed out with a briefing and tour of SSC’s new Thermal
Kayyem said it was a “great day.”