NATICK, Mass. – In his keynote speech at a ground breaking ceremony for the Soldier and Squad Performance Research Institute, or S2PRINT, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston directly connected the facility with his signature initiative to build more cohesive teams across the Army and praised the contributions of Army researchers to Soldier readiness.
Grinston’s “This is My Squad,” or TIMS, program is designed to replicate the cohesiveness often found in Special Forces units through increased education, specialized training, and small unit leader interaction with individual team members resulting in a more collective team mindset.
“At its core, S2PRINT is the science behind ‘This is My Squad’,” said Grinston in his address to a small audience gathered at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, or NSSC, where construction of the S2PRINT is expected to be completed in three years.
“Where else can our junior leaders focus on their operational, cognitive, behavioral, nutritional, physiological, and physical performance – all in a controlled, cutting-edge, and mission-relevant environment?”
NSSC, located in Natick, Massachusetts, houses the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Soldier Center and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, or USARIEM, the organizations leading the development of this state-of-the-art facility.
Both DEVCOM Soldier Center and USARIEM are part of Army Futures Command, which the Army stood up in 2019 to streamline the research and development of science and technology efforts, and spur innovation processes in order to modernize its forces.
“Last month, the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Army made people the Army’s number one priority, followed by readiness and modernization,” said Grinston. “S2PRINT stands at the intersection of all three.”
The 80,600-square-foot S2PRINT facility will advance AFC’s mission by providing a platform for innovative human performance research to measure, predict, and optimize individual Soldier and small unit readiness, performance, and resiliency. With S2PRINT, Army scientists and engineers will have a controlled environment to conduct applied, multidisciplinary studies focused on individual Soldier and squad performance.
S2PRINT will serve as the Army’s premier, human research and engineering laboratory where Army and other DoD and government agencies can collaborate with the nation’s leading industrial partners, universities, and first responders to enhance the performance and resilience of America’s warfighters.
“It will increase Soldier and squad lethality, improve unit readiness, and enhance mission performance,” said Grinston. “Throughout the process, squad and team leaders will get the chance to test and evaluate new approaches to training that work best for their Soldiers.
“Outcomes of the research here will ensure our squads are cohesive teams that are well trained, fit, and disciplined – all characteristics of our most highly effective units.”
In addition to participating in the ground breaking ceremony, Grinston toured the Center’s existing research facilities, viewed Soldier technology displays, met with senior leaders, and ate lunch with Soldiers at NSSC’s dining facility.
“Truth be told, a Soldier could not go a day in garrison, in the field, or in combat without touching something developed here,” said Grinston. “But the most advanced equipment in the world doesn’t matter unless you have the right people behind it.”
Other speakers at the event included Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Massachusetts District 3 Representative and member of the House Armed Forces Committee; Major General John A. George, commanding general of DEVCOM; and Brigadier General James P. Bienlien, DEVCOM deputy commanding general and NSSC senior commander.
About DEVCOM Soldier Center:
DEVCOM Soldier Center is committed to discovering, developing, and advancing science and technology solutions that ensure America’s warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. DEVCOM Soldier Center supports all of the Army's Modernization efforts, with the Soldier Lethality and Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Teams being the DEVCOM Soldier Center’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 a MDO Ready Force of 2035. DEVCOM Soldier Center 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.
DEVCOM Soldier Center is part of DEVCOM. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.