U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC), sometimes known as Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center or Natick Labs, is part of the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command.
The mission of this Army installation includes developing and testing material systems; this is the base known for its work on the Future Force Warrior System and also development of Meals Ready To Eat which are a staple of deployments and combat operations around the world.
Find information about Natick Soldier Systems Center, Massachusetts including the main commercial and DSN numbers for the base, information on basic services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PSCing personnel, and inprocessing.
Mission & Units
Department of Defense official sites describe the NSSC mission as one designed to “protect and sustain” U.S. forces at home and abroad. “NSSC is responsible for the technology, research, development, engineering, fielding, and sustainment” of military food, clothing, shelters, airdrop systems, etc.
This installation is said to be the “only Active Army installation east of the Hudson River”. Important missions and units include:
- 80 FTW
- Integrated Materiel Management Center
- Natick Soldier Systems Center
- Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility (NCRTF)
- Product Manager, Force Sustainment System
- U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC)
- U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine
The Natick Soldier Systems Center got its start in 1949 when Congress authorized the construction of the Quartermaster Research Facility at Natick, which broke ground in 1952.
A decade later, In November 1962, the facility was redesignated as Natick Laboratories and it would not be long before the Food and Container Institute moved to Natick. It would be redesignated many times before 1992, when the facility was re-branded as the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
In 1994, a U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command (SSC) was activated at Natick. Come 1998, the installation would be renamed the United States Army Soldier Systems Center, and later the Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) which is the current official name.
The Natick Soldier Systems Center mission in current times includes providing soldiers with body armor, uniforms, food, and much more. Research, development, and testing in these areas including advanced food preservation, upgrades for armor, and innovations for parachutes.
Main Base Address And Phone
US Army Garrison-Natick
10 General Greene Avenue
Natick, MA 01760
- DSN 312-256-4300
Important Contact Numbers
- Army Community Service (508) 233-4485
- BOSS Program (508) 233-4553
- Emergency 911
- ID and CAC Card Processing (508) 233-5007
- Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR)
- SHARP 24/7 Hotline (508) 395-9141
- SHARP Program (508) 233-6925
- Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255
- Visitors Center (508) 233-5111
- Army Emergency Relief (508) 233-5377
- Legal Services (508) 233-4322
- Fitness Center (508) 233-4933
- Dental Clinic (Hanscom AFB) (781) 225-6324
- Housing Office (508) 233-5409
- School Liaison Office (508) 233-4485
Natick Soldier Systems Center is a small Army installation and does not feature the types of services many take for granted on larger posts.
That is one reason why it’s important to know the local area and the other military support services offered in the area at other bases. For example, a commissary can be found roughly twenty miles away from the NSSC at Hanscom Air Force Base, which also features a base Clinic, BX/PX, and MWR services.
Fort Devens is another installation within a reasonable distance of NCCS. An Army Reserve base, there are services available including ID cards AAFES uniform sales, Reserve Education, and more.
NSSC is under 20 miles from Boston, which features a wide range of sports, culture, fine dining, and live music to explore. Boston has plenty of major leagues sports; the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins.
Those interested in fine arts will enjoy the Boston Pops Orchestra, and for shopping the Natick Collection is a serious destination-it is billed as “the largest mall in New England” with some 200 stores.
The NSSC Morale, Welfare, And Recreation (MWR) services at NSSC include options for tickets to NASCAR, outdoor recreation opportunities at the beach on Lake Cochituate, and in the local Natick, MA area you will find plenty of history thanks to an abundance of Civil War historic sites and battlefields.
The International Museum of World War II, The Center For The Arts In Natick (TCAN) and the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary are all worth exploring in your spare time and you will also find plenty of local farming including “pick-your-own” experiences at places such as Belkin Family Lookout Farm.
Inprocessing and Check-In
Due to the small size of this installation, all inbound servicemembers should contact their unit orderly room, command support staff, First Sergeant, of Command Sergeant Major about inprocessing procedures including reporting for the first time, mandatory appointments, etc. The gaining unit will advise you how to proceed upon arrival.
Due to the size of the installation, there is no on-post child care available at Natick Soldier Systems Center.
All troops PCSing to the NSSC in Natick are directed to track and manage household goods shipments via the Defense Personal Property System at Move.mil. For local assistance contact the NSSC Inbound TMO department at 781-377-7650.
Dependent And Retiree ID Card Renewal, Replacement, New Issue
All ID card services are normally provided by the Natick ID/CAC Card Processing center located at 10 General Greene Avenue. However, the Natick RAPIDS site for making appointments for ID card services advises at the time of this writing, “This office will be down until further notice. If you need further assistance please contact 508-233-4324”.
ID card services can be also found at nearby Hanscom Air Force Base. Make an appointment using the Hanscom RAPIDS appointment reservation system. Walk-ins are discouraged as wait times can total two hours or more without an appointment.
The military member must be present for all dependent ID card services unless the dependents have the appropriate power of attorney and/or a DD Form 1172-2 Application signed and witnessed by a notary or other official acceptable under Hanscom regulations.
There is no on-post education offered, but there is help available for locating schools in the local area. Contact the Natick Soldier Systems Center School Liaison Office at 508-233-5377, DSN 312-256-5377.
When enrolling a new student into an area school, parents must provide documentation including a birth certificate, Social Security card, and immunization records. Transcripts from the previous schools will also be required.
At the time of this writing, there is “limited” military family or government employee housing at Natick. Single/unaccompanied soldiers may be able to reside in on-post barracks depending on demand, PCS season, and other variables. Call the Natick Housing Office at 508-233-4073 to get information on waiting lists and local housing options.
New arrivals should not expect to live on-post, but nearby Hanscom Air Force Base may permit those PCSing to NSSC to apply for Base Housing there. Waiting lists will apply, but the Hanscom AFB Housing Referral Office can assist with off-post rentals. Call them at 781-225-5638.
PCS and TDY Lodging
There are no temporary lodging facilities provided at Natick. Hanscom Air Force Base (HAFB), located in Bedford (roughly 40 minutes away) offers a Temporary Lodging Facility for military and DoD civilians traveling on PCS orders. Call the Hanscom Inn TLF at 781-225-4444.
There is no on-post transportation system, shuttles, etc. but the campus is considered easy to navigate on foot. Those who arrive in the local area via a major airport such as Boston-Logan will find Natick approximately 25 miles away by the usual ride sharing, commercial taxis, etc.
Those who need alternate transportation options should contact their sponsor to arrange a pick-up or discuss the best way to get to the base.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
All privately owned vehicles must carry state-required insurance and keep their vehicles in compliance with all state requirements for seat belts, cell phone use, child safety restraints, etc. When reporting to the base for the first time, you are required to stop at the main gate visitor center. Contractors must check in at the NSSC Natick Service Gate.