Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836

Only Active Army Installation in New England Develops Technologies for Soldiers; Mass. House Delegation Pushed for Military Authority in 2012

MEDFORD (May 7, 2013) – The United States Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSCC) today announced that it would keep the key national security installation under the authority of the Army, instead of using civilian authority to run the facility that designs and tests the latest technologies for America’s soldiers. Several members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and Massachusetts Lt. Governor Timothy Murray today praised the move, saying it would continue the tradition of Army representation in the area, and encourage continued development of soldier-saving technologies at the labs. For example, the prototype Improved Outer Tactical Vest developed by Natick with PEO Soldier for female servicemembers was named one of the best inventions in 2012 by Time Magazine.

The Secretary of the Army John McHugh today announced that Brigadier General Daniel P. Hughes will be the Senior Mission Commander of the NSCC. The labs have been run on an interim basis by Dr. John Obusek following the departure of Brigadier General John McGuiness in September of 2012. Following departure of General McGuiness, the Massachusetts House delegation sent a letter to Secretary McHugh asking for clarification on the command of Natick labs, encouraging the Army to continue the military authority over the base.

“The Natick Soldier System Center exemplifies the best of Massachusetts and our military, serving our soldiers with the latest equipment, technologies, and life-saving gear. By maintaining military leadership at Natick, the Army has reaffirmed the critical role that Natick plays in ensuring the safety of our brave service members,” said Rep. Ed Markey. “I commend the Secretary of the Army for naming Brigadier General Daniel P. Hughes the Senior Mission Commander of the NSCC. Dr. John Obusek, who has served brilliantly as the Center’s Senior Manager, is a driving force behind the innovative technologies at Natick. I look forward to continuing to work with Natick labs to ensure it has the resources and capabilities to continue its vital mission.”

“Massachusetts has successfully raised the level of leadership at the U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Systems Center thanks to the advocacy and support by our entire congressional delegation, especially Congressman Markey and Congresswoman Tsongas," said Lieutenant Governor Murray, Chairman of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force.  "This base is not only one of the largest employers in the MetroWest region, but its innovative work saves lives and protects our men and women in uniform.  I welcome Brigadier General Daniel P. Hughes to Natick and look forward to working with him to promote the U.S. Army’s important role in Massachusetts.” 

“Following the departure of Brigadier General John McGuiness last year, I was very concerned about the Army’s announcement that they would be terminating the General Officer billet at Natick Labs,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. “That is why I joined others from the Massachusetts delegation to urge the Army to clarify the chain of command at Natick Soldier Systems given the indispensable role this installation plays in supporting our service personnel.  I commend Secretary John McHugh’s appointment of Brigadier General Daniel P. Hughes as it relieves these concerns and demonstrates that the Army understands just how important Natick is to the future of our military.  I extend my congratulations and welcome to General Hughes and my thanks to Dr. John Obusek for his innovative leadership, professionalism and commitment to advancing Natick’s mission while overseeing the facility. I look forward to continuing to work with them both as Natick continues to bring lifesaving, state-of-the-art resources to our servicemembers in the field.”

“I applaud the selection of Brigadier General Hughes to serve as Senior Mission Commander, and thank Dr. Obusek for his excellent work leading Natick Labs as interim senior manager,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “NSCC is an example of the important military research that goes on here in the Commonwealth, and I am pleased with the decision to keep it under Army leadership. I am committed to supporting Natick Labs and efforts to develop technologies that will protect our men and women in uniform.”

“This welcomed announcement allows the Natick Soldier Systems Center to continue its critical mission of conducting research that helps to strengthen our national security and maximize combat readiness and efficacy of our brave service members,” said Senator William “Mo” Cowan. “I’m pleased to hear that Brigadier General Daniel P. Hughes will be in command of this important Massachusetts military installation.   I look forward to working with Congressman Markey and the rest of our state’s Congressional delegation to ensure that the Center has the resources it needs to operate at the highest level.”   

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