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Strategic deterrence & nuclear programs

Research, wargaming & tools

Deep Expertise


NSRI has delivered important contributions to military and civilian leaders working toward strategic deterrence. Our efforts include:

  • Nuclear education
  • Escalation dynamics research
  • Tabletop exercises
  • Decision support tools
  • High-performance materials research
  • Advanced manufacturing of components
  • Conceptual nuclear weapon design
  • Survivability of forces
  • NC3 research
  • Electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) research
  • Deterrence policy requirements


NSRI helps to strengthen nuclear security by conducting research for U.S. government agencies in the areas of:

  • Weapon and material security
  • Proliferation technology detection
  • Nuclear nonproliferation

Additional research in the area of nuclear counterterrorism includes:

  • Detection of special nuclear material
  • Radiological material characterization
  • Rapidly deployable nuclear sensors
  • Hazard modeling research
  • Medical countermeasure research in cases of radiological exposure


Though the geopolitical environment for diplomacy has been unfavorable recently, arms control remains an essential tool for the U.S. to reduce nuclear risks to itself and its allies and partners.

To support our customers and sponsors, NSRI and the University of Nebraska research diplomatic and foreign engagement options in all areas of nuclear arms control, nonproliferation and verification.

Leading Capabilities

NSRI, with research faculty at the University of Nebraska, is poised to support the top national priority of strategic deterrence and risk reduction across a range of research areas.

Featured Work

NSRI researchers work across a broad range of activities to support agencies across the DOD and federal government. Here are just two recent examples of our work.

NSRI developed a series of novel tabletop wargames for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to help military leaders and decision makers explore nuclear escalation dynamics in the context of limited nuclear conflict. A “limited nuclear conflict” is the detonation of low-yield, non-strategic nuclear weapons in a tactical battle. The wargame illustrates how events along the Russian-Ukrainian border could unwittingly escalate into a limited nuclear conflict between Russia and the U.S. The wargame is available for leaders across the DOD and USG, provided by NSRI either in person or virtually. Inquire >

Time-sensitive research on future arms control options 

Through a series of research efforts and strategic intelligence projects, NSRI recently brought to bear expertise from the University of Nebraska, U.S. academia and the wider nonprofit and NGO community to provide the U.S. Department of State with extremely time-sensitive research on future arms control options: treaty architectures, core principles, national security implications, new technologies supporting treaty verification and foreign nuclear threat and treaty compliance assessments.

Team Leaders


Chris Yeaw

Christopher Yeaw, Ph.D.

Associate Executive Director

Dr. Yeaw guides NSRI researchers, senior consultants and fellows to deliver problem-based solutions across the institute's growing research portfolio.
Adam Carlstrom

Adam Carlstrom, MBA

Research Director

In his role, Carlstrom represents NSRI and NU with U.S. Strategic Command, the sponsor of NSRI’s University Affiliated Research Center status. This status is designated by the Department of Defense to only 14 total institutions of higher education in the country.
Patrick Rhoads

Patrick Rhoads, MS

Research Director

Rhoads helps direct NSRI's nuclear enterprise support program, which serves the complementary needs of USSTRATCOM’s federal partners in managing the nation’s nuclear deterrent. These partners include but are not limited to the Department of State, other organizations within the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
DiNanno leads the NSRI team in designing, developing and executing world-class wargames. He also directs NSRI's strategic resiliency portfolio to explore how best to respond to strategic escalation and manage the consequences of strategic attacks against the U.S. homeland.
Allen Geist

Allen Geist, MAS


Geist’s unique experiences at the tactical, operational, strategic levels provides a critical perspective that can enable a synchronization of the efforts and resources required for USSTRATCOM to further its EMSO role.

Connect With NSRI

As the DOD-designated University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) of U.S. Strategic Command and the University of Nebraska System, the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) delivers solutions for strategic deterrence and CWMD mission requirements gaps. Our rapid-response capabilities and efficient contracting vehicle can help federal government program managers meet critical research and development needs. Connect with us to learn more.

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