University of Nebraska’s National Strategic Research Institute awarded $92 million contract


Zach Gilbert

University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter announced that the University of Nebraska’s National Strategic Research Institute was awarded a $92 million contract on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of UNMC.

University of Nebraska’s National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) was awarded a new five-year, $92 million contract from the U.S. Strategic Command, according to a statement released by University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter on Tuesday.

The contract is intended to aid the NSRI in continuing leading research in national security and defense. This is the third contract the NSRI has received since it was established in 2012. The Institute was formed to conduct research that would assist both USSTRATCOM and the Department of Defense.

NSRI’s initial $84 million contract was renewed in 2018 with a former $92 million contract. NSRI reached this ceiling in 18 months, demonstrating the need for yet another renewal that would fund the university’s expanding efforts to protect the United States and its allies from threats around the globe. Over the past eight years, NSRI has received over $298 million in research contract awards.

Carter, a retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy (his alma mater), voiced his appreciation for the contract.

“This is a monumental achievement for the world-leading faculty, staff and students of the University of Nebraska, the entire team at NSRI, and the people of our state,” said Carter. “It is one of the greatest points of pride to put the talents and resources of the University of Nebraska to work to support our women and men in uniform. This contract award is a vote of confidence in our university, and it signals the continued strength of our partnership with USSTRATCOM and the Department of Defense.”

Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, also voiced his gratitude for the NSRI’s work.

“The efforts of the NSRI for national security are incalculable and that is once again validated by the awarding of a new five-year contract,” Richard said. “As the sponsor of the NSRI, the United States Strategic Command and its 150,000 military and civilian force are proud of their accomplishments and we look forward to what they will offer this command the nation in the future.”

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Hinson, NSRI founding executive director, assured that NSRI’s progress would continue far into the future with the funds provided by this contract.

“As we’ve seen throughout the last several months with COVID-19, the threats never cease and they are never one-dimensional,” Hinson said. “It is exactly these times of compounding challenges that NSRI is designed to respond to – the scope of our expertise is broad because the threat spectrum is broad. Respond we have, and we will continue to do so in support of STRATCOM and the DoD.”

UNO and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., was quick to note the vast array of projects the NSRI works on as well.

“Whether in the realm of national security intelligence, biosecurity, cybersecurity or frontline emergency care, our institutions through the NSRI have the knowledge base and ingenuity to help the DoD rise to new challenges and meet research and training needs,” Gold said. “The University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are honored to have the continued trust of the U.S. Department of Defense in playing a crucial role in the defense of our country.”

Most recently, NSRI has focused on expanding its nuclear expertise. The Institute brought in nuclear strategist Dr. Christopher Yeaw in July 2019 to assist in exploring future arms control options for the U.S. government.

Other NSRI projects include cybersecurity architecture updates for USSTRATCOM and experiments in microbiology and pathology with Dr. Joshua Santarpia, a UNMC associate professor who has led the charge at the university to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to the public.

The University of Nebraska is one of only 14 University Affiliated Research Centers in the country to have an exclusive research partnership with the Department of Defense. It is the only university in this group to be sponsored by a unified combatant command.