The Soldier Systems Center is operated by the Department of Defense and is responsible for the general living condition the US troops have to face while hosted in various bases or in their missions. The facility is located in Natick, in the eastern part of Massachusetts. The primary mission of this base is to deal with the clothes, uniforms, food, homes and a few other services required by the military troops. Since it is operated by the government, it deals with all the military fields and not just the Army. The place spreads over 78 acres, with 46 more acres that cover some local communities nearby. There are almost 2000 individuals working on site. Only about 160 of them are actual military troops. There are 750 individual contractors too, as well as more than 1000 civilians employed to deal with the basic operations.
The Soldier Systems Center is responsible for testing both humans and materials under various weather conditions, whether you count extreme heat or cold. The same goes for the high altitudes or harsh winds. All these tests are performed to come up with the best results for the troops. Some of the most important achievements include freezing or drying methods, food irradiation prevention measures, extremely effective body armors or a new technology used by the parachuting troops.
The construction for Soldier Systems Center was approved in 1949, after the US government realized how important such a center is. It began in 1952. The place was established as Quartermaster Research Facility. In the summer of 1961, the environmental medicine institute joined the place, followed by food institute one year later and the clothing and textile facility 5 years later. In other words, it only took the center 6 years to cover most of the important fields.
Until 1992, the center went through almost 10 name changes and just as many switches between various commands. No one can tell why all these operations were performed. It seems like no one wanted to deal with it as it was not actually a military base, therefore its importance was not as big. In 1992, it was renamed to what it is today. In 1998, Soldier Systems Control merged with the defense command dealing with biological and chemical weapons in order to come up with new techniques to defend the troops against such weapons.
There are about 30 small units hosted at Soldier Systems Center. They are relatively small and insignificant from a military point of view. However, they indirectly save a lot of lives with the systems they design. Some of the most important units include the Installation Management Command, the Clothing and Textile Research Facility, the Natick Army Labs, the Camouflage Evaluation Facility or the Thermal and Flame Laboratory. The list can successfully go on.
All the units and newcomers are generally hosted on site, unless they choose differently. There is plenty of room for everyone. The workers are also allowed to bring their families with them. Their ranks are irrelevant.