NATICK, Mass. -- Lori Trahan, who serves as the U.S. Representative for the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts, toured the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Soldier Center and spoke at a historic groundbreaking ceremony of a new performance research facility on November 12. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at, and was hosted by, the Natick Soldier Systems Center, or NSSC.
DEVCOM Soldier Center and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, or USARIEM, are leading the development of the new Soldier and Squad Performance Research Institute, or S2PRINT, located at NSSC.
The congresswoman was one of several featured speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony for state-of-the-art facility. At the groundbreaking event, the keynote speaker was Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston. Other speakers included Major General John A. George, commanding general U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, or DEVCOM; and Brigadier General James P. Bienlien, deputy commanding general, DEVCOM, and senior commander, Natick Soldier Systems Center.
“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I’m committed to advocating for advancing technologies that will protect our service members in uniform and will give the Department of Defense the agility it needs to respond to the threats of tomorrow,” said Trahan. “So I could not be more thrilled to support this state-of-the-art research facility that will achieve precisely that.”
Trahan noted that the groundbreaking of S2PRINT was yet another example of “the extraordinary capabilities that are housed right here in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth is home to the nation’s finest academic institutions and a world-class private sector tech industry. It always plays a central role in the defense innovation ecosystem for developing emerging military technologies to enhance the United States national security and to keep pace with our competitors.”
After the groundbreaking ceremony, Trahan toured the Soldier Center, an organization dedicated to protecting, increasing the lethality and optimizing the performance of the nation's warfighters. She was briefed by subject matter experts on the organization’s science and technology research for the warfighter and visited some of the Soldier Center’s unique facilities.
Trahan received a briefing about the Soldier Center’s joint service Combat Feeding program, a longtime innovator in feeding the nation’s warfighters. The briefing highlighted the development of the Close Combat Assault Ration – a lightweight, combat ration that provides 3,000 calories and weighs just over a pound.
"Congresswoman Trahan was very interested in making sure that military rations not only give warfighters what they need, but are also highly acceptable,” said Stephen M. Moody, division chief, Combat Feeding, Soldier Sustainment Directorate at the DEVCOM Soldier Center. “At the end of the day, it's got to be something they want to eat."
Trahan also toured the Soldier Protection Directorate’s Design, Pattern and Prototype Team’s newly renovated design studio. During the tour, members of the talented team provided an overview of the team’s work and the studio’s unique capabilities. The team designs and fabricates prototypes of a wide range of clothing, equipment, and protective gear, including chemical-biological protection, body armor, field and combat clothing, dress uniforms, and cold- and hot-weather clothing.
Clothing designers Kathryn McCusker and Ashley Cushon briefed Trahan on the team’s efforts working with Soldiers in the field, creating novel design concepts, and facilitating the evolution of Soldier-informed requirements from hand-drawn sketches to field-tested and Soldier-approved items ready to transition to warfighters.
Trahan viewed prototypes of currently fielded designs, experimental items in early development, as well as the array of equipment and machinery that enhance the designers' contribution towards the Army's modernization efforts and overall objective of improving Soldier readiness.
During her visit to the Soldier Center, Trahan noted that she is looking forward to returning and viewing the progress of S2PRINT and other innovations at Natick in the future.
“I’m so excited to hear about the results coming out of the research conducted here,” Trahan said. “Thank you for having me here today. Thank you for this important work that you are all doing to keep our service members safe.”
The 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.