Our nation’s military has a vast array of potent weapons — planes, ships, artillery and much more.
In the 21st century, one of our military’s most powerful weapons is state-of-the-art research. It’s encouraging that the Air Force has renewed its relationship with the University of Nebraska for NU to carry out high-level research on a range of security challenges.
The five-year, $92 million contract will enable the university to continue its wide range of security-related research projects in fields including medicine, lasers and psychology.
NU created its National Strategic Research Institute in 2012 to partner with the Pentagon on such forward-looking projects. The institute is one of only 13 such university-affiliated research centers in the country, putting NU in the forefront of marshaling our country’s academic capabilities and insights to further America’s security.
“We’re excited for the continued partnership with the University of Nebraska, as it has paid dividends for U.S. StratCom and the Department of Defense,” Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said. NU’s contributions are especially important in giving the military greater flexibility to solve challenges and put solutions in operation sooner, Hyten said.
Here are just some of the 84 research projects by NU faculty:
- University of Nebraska Medical Center scientists, in the forefront of biosecurity studies, are pursuing next-generation vaccines for anthrax and infectious diseases. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is working on improvements for a vaccine for the poison ricin.
- A UNL project focuses on ways to improve the metals used on military vehicles to boost performance in harsh conditions.
- UNL physicists, making use of advanced laser facilities on the Lincoln campus, are working to develop laser technology to detect hidden or camouflaged explosives.
- University of Nebraska at Omaha researchers have been pioneering in using computer-facilitated tools to study the psychology of terrorist groups, and the Pentagon has contracted to gain insights on that score.
- UNL faculty, drawing on their expertise in civil engineering, are working on techniques to boost the security of military entry points.
- The NU College of Law has developed an international reputation in outer space studies and, amid its work in the field, will host an operational law conference to examine the unique legal and national policy limitations on military operations in space, cyber and nuclear warfare.
Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Hinson, founding executive director of the National Strategic Research Institute, said NU launched the institute with “an ambitious goal: Lead the way in providing research to meet — and ultimately anticipate — the needs of our DoD and agency partners who are on the front lines in defending the United States against those who would do us harm. We have achieved remarkable success. Yet our work in supporting our men and women in uniform is never done. Threats to our national security are increasingly grave and complex. I’m so pleased that we will be able to continue this vital and life-saving work.”
Vital work, indeed, to ensure a safe future for our military and our country.