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Nebraska's Growing Role in National Security


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Before President George W. Bush landed at Offutt Air Force Base on September 11, 2001, few appreciated Nebraska's role in U.S. national security matters beyond nuclear deterrence.

But Strategic Command (STRATCOM) at Offutt AFB near Bellevue, Neb., has long been quietly monitoring ever-changing threats to our security and providing global operational support to U.S. military activities. As threats to the homeland become increasingly sophisticated, STRATCOM's responsibilities to deliver cutting-edge defense and deterrence strategies have never been more important. Yet to stay ahead of our enemies, we need state-of-the-art research and development to maintain the world's strongest national defense. Enter the University of Nebraska (NU).

For many months, NU and STRATCOM have been working toward a new partnership. It was announced last Thursday with the launch of a University Affiliated Research Center at NU. Researchers will collaborate with STRATCOM to research and engineer new technologies to meet emerging security needs.

The partnership brings together NU's advanced research capabilities with STRATCOM's mission to deter, detect and defend against strategic attacks on the United States and its allies. STRATCOM, a unified command, combines assets from each branch of the military to focus on missile defense, military satellites, intelligence and surveillance operations, cyber security and our nuclear arsenal.

This is a tremendous opportunity for NU, STRATCOM and Nebraska. Working in tandem, the University and the unified command will address the most pressing global strategic security needs. Researchers right here in Nebraska will help develop the next generation of tools and techniques to make the world a safer place. Their innovations will benefit all branches our military and other security agencies.

The research agreement between NU and the Department of Defense is only the 15th of its kind and the first for the University. The Institute received an initial $17 million from STRATCOM and will continue to receive some annual funding. It is also eligible to seek private funding and other research grants. The result will be increased state-of-the-art capabilities that benefit our security.

With more than a decade of defense-related research experience, NU is poised to support STRATCOM's needs. This partnership underscores NU's expertise in the field of advanced research and security studies, and highlights Nebraska's central role to ensuring the security of our nation. Security research will be conducted at all four NU campuses, spreading new research opportunities across the university system. This unique arrangement has the potential to further expand NU's research capabilities and advance its standing as a world leader in research and education.

A forward-looking strategic defense is critical to mitigating twenty-first century threats. This is what STRATCOM does around the clock. I am proud that Nebraska is dedicated to this important public service and I am equally proud that NU will provide support to achieve this mission.

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