Visiting senator lauds Army base

US Senator Elizabeth Warren recently visited the Natick Soldier Systems Center to learn more about the research facility as base officials prepare to cut 30 percent of their operational budget, responding to the across-the-board funding cuts known as sequestration. The Natick base, which is the only active-duty Army installation in New England, is responsible for researching and developing equipment for use by military personnel in the field. During her March 15 visit, Warren praised the base’s personnel for their innovative efforts, saying their work saves lives, and thanked them for helping to clothe and keep safe her three brothers, who all served in the military. Warren also used the visit to voice her opposition to the sequestration law. The vast majority of the base’s employees — 1,343 civilians working there, according to Army officials — will be forced to start taking an unpaid furlough day each week, cutting their pay by 20 percent and delaying research goals. The base will also halt minor site maintenance, repairs, and cleaning contracts, and cut back on purchasing supplies, work-related travel, and professional development programs for employees. US Secretary of the Army John McHugh also lauded the Natick base during his visit last year, describing the facility as valuable and enduring.