Natick Labs is a United States military research complex located outside of Boston in Natick, MA. The institution falls primarily under the use of the U.S. Army but was commissioned by the Department of Defense and is utilized to some extent or another-jobsites by every branch of the military. The facility is also commonly known as the United States Army Soldier Systems Center. Because the facility combines all branches of the military is directed in joint control by leaders in each branch and the cross sectoral cooperation between military units and civilian institutions in the greater Boston area.
Established in 1949 as the Quartermaster Research Facility, the institution has long been part of the cutting edge landscape of military non-weapons testing. The center specializes in troop resources, and tests them against any sort of extremes they may encounter. A parachute for example, will be tested against climates of any variety to ensure its safe and effective use. The center has also developed new technologies in food rations that develop longer-lasting and easier freeze drying techniques. The ongoing war in Iraq has necessitated more recent projects that attempt to improve soldier protective apparel. The emergence of improvised explosive devices (IED's) as a common tool in enemy warfare has led to the need for newer technologies in protective vest plates, and other-jobsites bullet/shrapnel technology.
The main campus occupies 76 acres in the Natick area, and has separate facilities that occupy an additional 46 acres in the surrounding community. The facility employs a total of over 1,950 people, with those numbers being composed of 159 military personnel, 1,050 civilians, and approximately 750 contractors. Natick Army Labs has an annual budget close to $1 billion.
Work performed at Natick Army Labs is of a highly experimental nature. Occasionally this work may be performed in potentially dangerous circumstances. Some of these circumstances are more easy to identify than other-jobsitess (i.e. parachute testing). One of the dangerous circumstances that are more difficult to identify is exposure to potentially harmful materials that you may not even know you were exposed to. One such material is asbestos, which is colorless, tasteless, odorless, and almost invisible to the human eye. Some of the work performed at Natick labs dealt with guards against weather extremes, which involve a great deal of work with insulation materials. This was the primary used for asbestos fiber prior to its dangers becoming more apparent in the last quarter century.
Asbestos can be very harmful if inhaled into the human body. It has the propensity to disrupt normal respiratory function not immediately, but sometimes several years down the road depending on the duration of exposure. It is important to recognize possible exposure situations that you may have encountered. Early detection of asbestos induced body complications can lessen the impact they may have on your daily functions. It is important that if you think you may have been exposed to consult physicians assistance in diagnosis possibilities.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.