Natick Soldier Systems Center, MA HistoryNatick Soldier Systems Center, the only major Army facility in New England, was originally established as the Quartermaster Research Facility (later renamed multiple times until its current name) the center was built in 1952 with the overall mission of researching, developing, and testing military materiel and equipment. This is where the MOLLE, Interceptor body armor, bulletproof clothing, new protection shelters, ever-improving military warrior systems like the Land Warrior and Future Solider systems, PALS gridding, and MREs were developed (if you don't like modern MREs, just consider how much of an improvement over MCI C-rations they are).
To keep up with soldier combat needs and technological advancements, a series of changes developed from the 1960's to 2000's: The center was placed under the US Army Materiel Command (later renamed the US Army Materiel Development and Readiness Command); the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine was established at the center; and the Food and Container Institute and the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility relocated there as well. In 1994, a US Army Soldier Systems Command was established at Natick, and as a result, a series of elements followed with that activation: the Integrated Materiel Management Center, Product Manager-Soldier Support, Clothing and Services Office, and Product Manager-Force Provider.
The current mission of the Natick Soldier Systems Center is to supply US soldiers with the best equipment on the globe. Natick and the Army Lab are why advancements in food irradiation, body armor, parachuting gear, and military garments served soldiers better on the field than previous equipment. Through research, development, and management of food, shelters, clothing, airdrop systems, and soldier support items, the center continues to produce superior military technology. All new equipment is severely stress-tested under lab conditions before field testing.