Since the installation is small, it does not have the typical range of support services found on larger installations. For example, there is no school and no child development center (day care) on the installation. The nearest commissary is 20 miles away at Hanscom Air Force Base. However, the installation is situated in a beautiful location served by some of the best public schools in the country and is next door to Boston, one of the most historic and vibrant cities in the nation.
Nearby installations include:
Hanscom Air Force Base is located 20 miles north of the installation. It has a wide range of services, including a medical treatment clinic, commissary, post exchange/base exchange, and a full range of Morale, Welfare and Recreation services. Natick Soldier Systems Center personnel are welcomed at Hanscom to use their services.
Fort Devens is located 28 miles from the installation. It is an Army Reserve installation with limited services available to NSSC personnel, such as ID Card Office, Army Reserve Education Center, and Army and Air Force Exchange Service Clothing and Sales store for Army uniforms.
DSN Overseas Dialing Instructions
When dialing a DSN number to/from military locations overseas, replace the regular area code with the DSN area code. The DSN area code for Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) is 312. To reach an NSSC number from overseas, dial the DSN area code, (312), then the last seven digits of the phone number.
The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) is a Department of Defense (DoD) installation with the mission to protect and sustain America's military forces. NSSC is responsible for the technology, research, development, engineering, fielding, and sustainment of our military's food, clothing, shelters, airdrop systems, and Soldier support items. NSSC also has the lead for Soldier integration for the U.S. Army. With the U.S. Army Garrison Natick at its core, NSSC remains the only Active Army installation east of the Hudson River.
Construction of the Quartermaster Research Facility (QRF) at Natick, authorized by Congress in October 1949, began in November 1952. A year later, the QRF was redesignated as the Quartermaster Research and Development Center, and four years later as the Quartermaster Research and Engineering Command. July 1961 saw the activation of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine at Natick and a year later the QREC was placed under the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). In November 1962, the QREC was redesignated as Natick Laboratories and the following year the Food and Container Institute moved to Natick. In July 1967 the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility relocated to Natick.
Natick Laboratories became a subordinate element to the Troop Support Command in July 1973 and was redesignated two years later as the U.S. Army Natick Development Center and reassigned to the AMC. The NDC was redesignated the U.S. Army Natick Research and Development Command in January 1976 and assigned to the U.S. Army Materiel Development and Readiness Command. The same month, AMC was redesignated the U.S. Army Materiel Development and Readiness Command.
In September 1980, the NRDC was redesignated as the U.S. Army Natick Research and Development Laboratories and three years later as the U.S. Army Natick Research and Development Center, a subordinate element of the U.S. Army TSC in St. Louis, Missouri. DARCOM and TSC merged in July 1992, forging the U.S. Army Aviation and Troop Command in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1982, NRDC surrendered control of 3,100 acres in the Massachusetts towns of Hudson, Maynard, Stow and Sudbury to Fort Devens to become a field training facility, now the Connolly Armed Forces Training Area. The land was an ordinance supply depot during World War II. After being an Environmental Protection Agency "Superfund" cleanup site in the 1990s, with extensive clean-up, a portion of it became the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge in 2000.
In October 1992, the NRDC was redesignated as the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, still a subordinate element of the ATC. The U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command was activated at Natick in November 1994. Elements subsequently established at the SSC included the Sustainment and Readiness Directorate in February 1995 and Product Manager-Soldier Support in October 1995. Additional elements subsequently relocated to Natick including the Clothing and Services Office in October 1996 from Fort Lee, Virginia, and Product Manager-Force Provider in June 1997.
The Sustainment and Readiness Directorate became the Integrated Material Management Center in October 1997. SSC then merged with the Chemical Biological Defense Command to become the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in October 1998. At this time, the installation was renamed its present name, the United States Army Natick Soldier Systems Center. Local residents, however, often still refer to the installation as "Quartermaster," or more commonly as "Natick Labs."
Natick Soldier Systems Center employs approximately 150 active duty, 1,500 federal civil servants, 200 civilian contractors, and serves over 6,000 Retirees.
U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC), known locally as "Natick Labs," is located in Natick, Massachusetts. Natick is a suburb approximately 18 miles west of Boston, in an area known as "MetroWest." The installation is primarily a research and development laboratory situated on a compact 78-acre campus, with the U.S. Army Garrison Natick at its center. At NSSC, you will work near Boston, a metropolitan area that offers plenty of sports, arts, and entertainment. Boston is home to the famed Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins. It is also home to the world-famous Boston Pops Orchestra and many Revolutionary War battlefields. Less than three miles away is New England's largest mall, the Natick Collection, a world-class retail and restaurant destination with 200 of the finest retail stores. New England's climate and geography offer a wide range of outdoor options with beaches, mountains for hiking and skiing, lakes, and rivers all just a day trip away.
While there is no base transportation available on this installation, NSSC is a very walkable campus, with a recreational walking/jogging trail around its perimeter.