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Spilka Announces $2.3 Million Federal Funding for Natick Soldier Systems

August 3, 2009

August 3, 2009

BOSTON – State Representative David Linsky (D-Natick) and Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) announced today that the Federal Department of Defense (DoD) will be awarding millions of economic stimulus dollars to military facilities throughout Massachusetts for approximately 225 construction and facility repair projects.  Among the facilities receiving those funds is the Natick Soldier Systems Labs, which will receive an estimated $2.3 million for projects. 

“Natick Soldier Systems is critically important both to the men and women who serve in our nation’s military and to the Massachusetts economy,” stated Senator Spilka, who is Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technolgies.  “Advancements to our high-tech national defense are developed right here in the MetroWest, and it is important that we keep these jobs and this research here, in the heart of the innovation economy.  I am extremely pleased that these federal stimulus funds will bridge potential budget gaps for the center and allow them to continue their excellent work.”

“These funds are coming to the state at a time when supplementary money is not available for these facilities,” explains Representative Linsky, House Chairman of the Federal Stimulus Oversight Committee.  “These additional funds will allow the employees at Natick Soldier Systems to continue their critical research in developing innovative technology for our service men and women.”

For more than 50 years, the staff at Natick Soldier Systems has taken the lead in researching and designing everything a soldier wears, consumes, and carries.  The items that the labs design are innovative and of the utmost importance to soldiers during training as well as their deployment abroad.  The Soldier Systems Labs will use the funds to repair sewers, replace heating systems, and put in new windows.  There are also funds set aside to repair roadways around the base.  The DoD expects that these projects will be well underway by August and includes them in the list of 225 projects to be finished by September.  The roadway project is slated to begin soon with an estimated date of completion in December 2010.

The U.S. Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility, located at Natick Soldier Systems Center, focuses on testing, evaluating and creating the most functional, durable and affordable uniforms and protective gear.  This facility has been allocated stimulus funds to upgrade the Navy R&D building.  The DoD has awarded the contract for this project and has estimated that construction will be complete by December 2010.

“At the invitation of Senator Spilka, Natick Soldier Systems Center holds a day at the State House each year and this past May, I was able to see and learn about many of the extraordinary designs and ideas for new food and clothing technology, “ said Representative Linsky. “It is remarkable what these labs create and how they work to keep our men and women abroad safe and well prepared.  The labs, which are the largest military labs in the United States, are very deserving of the funds and I am glad to see that they will be able to improve the facilities, which will help them to develop new products for years to come.”

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in February 2009 with the hope that the act would stimulate the economy and create job opportunities.  The DoD intends to use the remaining funds to preserve and create American jobs, care for U.S. Service members and their families, and improve DoD energy efficiency.  Many more sustainment, restoration, and modernization projects are slated to begin at the Natick Soldier Systems Center within a year.  All future projects have been awarded contracts and are currently in the planning or design stages.  Start dates for the projects range from October 2009 to May 2010.  It is anticipated that as these projects take shape there will be see an influx of local construction jobs as well as advanced projects and technologies coming from Natick Soldier Systems.

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