NATICK, Mass. -- Innovation and collaboration were on full display during the recent visit of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, located at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center.

The U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center is dedicated to using science and technology to ensure America's warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. CCDC Soldier Center supports all of the Army's Modernization efforts, with the Soldier Lethality and Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Teams being the CCDC SC's chief areas of focus. The center's science and engineering expertise are combined with collaborations with industry, DOD, and academia to advance Soldier and squad performance. The center supports the Army as it transforms from being adaptive to driving innovation to support a Multi-Domain Operations Capable Force of 2028 and an MDO Ready Force of 2035. CCDC SC is constantly working to strengthen Soldiers' performance to increase readiness and support for warfighters who are organized, trained, and equipped for prompt and sustainable ground combat.

"Massachusetts has long been a science and technology hub, as well as home to some of the best universities in the world," said Douglas Tamilio, director of CCDC SC. "Governor Baker's visit gave us the opportunity to increase awareness about how we use science and technology to optimize Soldier performance, enhance Soldier protection, and improve Soldier equipment. Our work is made possible by the innovative thinking of our scientists and engineers as well as the many partnerships we have with academia and industry."

During his visit, Baker learned about CCDC SC's efforts in support of Army Modernization and its leading-edge scientific and technological innovations to increase Soldier lethality, optimize Soldier performance, and improve Soldier protection.

"I was pleased to visit with the leadership, scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center and see the advancements they are developing to benefit the performance and protection of the brave men and women serving in the U.S. military," said Baker.

The governor was briefed on a wide-range of topics, including the Soldier Squad Performance Research Institute (S2PRINT), the Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness (MASTR-E) program, human performance optimization, clothing and equipment, Soldier protection, load carriage, combat rations, performance nutrition, signature management, concealment, and aerial delivery technologies -- to name just some of the many topics presented by subject matter experts.

Baker was also briefed by other organizations at the Natick Systems Soldier Center, including the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine; Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems; the U.S. Navy Clothing, Textile and Research Facility; Program Management Office for Special Operations, Survival, Support and Equipment Systems; U.S. Coast Guard Clothing Design and Technical Office; the Air Force Liaison; and the Integrated Logistics Support Center.

"All the organizations at NSSC are dedicated to increasing the combat effectiveness of our Soldiers and joint warfighters across DOD," said Brig. Gen. Vincent Malone, deputy commanding general of CCDC and senior commander of NSSC.

"I'd like to thank the state for its support," said Col. Sean O'Neil, commander of USARIEM.

Baker then interacted with subject matter experts from several organizations working on a wide variety of projects.

One of the projects that interested the governor was the Performance Readiness Bar. The bar was developed by USARIEM and CCDC SC's Combat Feeding Directorate to optimize bone health during basic training. Baker took a sample bar to try later.

Governor Baker also received a tour of the Doriot Climatic Chambers, a unique, world-class testing facility capable of replicating world-wide weather conditions, including extreme temperatures. The facility enables researchers at CCDC SC and USARIEM to study and improve human performance under a wide range of conditions, as well as the performance of Soldier equipment.

In 2015, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, or MassDevelopment, funded infrastructure upgrades to the Doriot Climatic Chambers. The upgrades included the expansion of system capabilities in two of the smaller testing rooms, providing a more energy efficient, cost-effective way to conduct all-important research benefiting the warfighter.

Baker learned about the capabilities of the chambers, as well as about recent technologies, including the latest in cold-weather gear, chem-bio protection, and several other technologies including a body-worn microclimate cooling system developed by USARIEM and CCDC Soldier Center.

"Governor Baker, as the chair of the MASS-TF, understands the unique and important missions our military brings to the Commonwealth," said John Beatty, executive director of the Mass Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, or MASS-TF. "He works collaboratively with our Senate and House Armed Service Committee members to ensure our bases and their associated missions thrive in Massachusetts."

During his time at Natick, Baker also toured CCDC SC's new and improved Design, Pattern, and Prototype Studio. The studio supports the efforts of the Design, Pattern and Prototype Team. The team designs and fabricates prototypes of clothing, equipment, and protective gear.

"The governor's visit was an opportunity for him to get a glance into CCDC Soldier Center's science and engineering expertise which is so complementary with our local academia and industry," said Annette LaFleur, team leader for the Design, Pattern, and Prototype Team. Following the studio tour, Baker said to LaFleur's team "thanks for your service."

It was a great day for Team Natick and underscored Team Natick's dedication to working together to provide the nation's warfighters with the best capabilities science and technology have to offer.