Five members of the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group came Dec. 12 to the Natick Soldier Systems Center to tour the installation's unique facilities.

NSSC is certainly no stranger to the Navy. The center is home to the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility, or NCTRF.

"We believe in sharing things," Christine Marsh, deputy to the NSSC commanding general, told the SSG members. "We're all partners in this. We never go to war alone.

"We do focus on the individual. We empower, unburden and protect. That's our focus."

The SSG is located at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Admiral James R. Hogg, USN (Ret.) directs the organization.

"We are tasked for and only by the CNO of the Navy," said Dr. Kristin Moore of the SSG. "It's sole purpose is to generate revolutionary war concepts."

"What we've generally done is look 20, 25, 30 years out, trying to envision what future war might look like," said Marine Col. Gerry Leonard Jr. of SSG, adding that the goal is to gain a "big advantage over our adversaries."

What did the group hope to accomplish at Natick?

"We're really going to expand our minds," Leonard said. "We'll try to broaden our horizons."

Military and civilian SSG members saw plenty of innovation at Natick, including the 3D Body Scanner, Anthropometric Survey, Biomechanics Lab, Doriot Climatic Chambers, Combat Feeding Directorate, and, of course, the NCTRF.

"I wanted to come here because I've heard quite a bit about -- and it's appealing to me -- what we're doing to put the individual in the fight," Leonard said. "It's comforting to know how much effort's being put in to test what we're putting on our body."