National Strategic Research Institute appoints two new Directors

February 01, 2016

The National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska has appointed two new directors who will be paramount to furthering research solutions for combating weapons of mass destruction at the University of Nebraska, for U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), the Department of Defense (DoD) and the nation. 

Mr. Gary “Wes” Carter has been named Director of Field Operations and Training.  Carter will lead a team of field operators in support of Ph.D. level researchers & laboratory technicians to conduct research and development, testing, and program development activities in worldwide field environments.  Carter’s leadership in the field will facilitate the coordination of field testing and sampling work across global locations.

Carter comes to the NSRI as a Training and Foreign Operations expert, specializing in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and has worked extensively in austere settings, worldwide.  Carter formerly served as Chief of Emergency Management for United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and Director of a Counterterrorism Training Program.  He was the primary official responsible for actionable events and coordinator of emergency response teams.  Carter brings extensive deployment experience from over 20 countries for disease investigation and outbreak response. His experience in real world response to outbreak investigation and emergency operations ranges from national support during the Amerithrax investigation, to the Ebola crisis.  After 20 years of federal service, Carter moved into the private sector and served as a Senior Science Advisor for MRI Global, an independent, not-for-profit organization that performs contract research for government and industry.  Carter supported a variety of projects in a technical services consulting group for governmental and nongovernmental clients.  He directed technical support to projects related to biosafety, counterterrorism, weapons of mass destruction response, outbreak response, foreign operations, threat assessments, disease surveillance, training, laboratory design and high threat operations. 

"The mission of protecting the warfighter is in the crosshairs of our research efforts.  Mr. Carter brings tactical field expertise to the NSRI that will help our scientists better understand the warfighter requirements" said Lt. Gen. (Ret) Bob Hinson, Executive Director of the NSRI. "  Mr. Carter will be bridging NSRI relationships with various combatant commands and agencies in the countering WMD mission space.  His addition to the NSRI will guide the creation of new programs with potential collaborators as well as direct current and ongoing work within NSRI”. 

Mr. Dillan J. Cunningham has been named Director of CBRNE Counterproliferation and Defeat.  He will provide CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive) operating standards, strategies, equipment, education, etc. to teams of laboratory technicians and Ph.D. level researchers for research in laboratory environments.  Cunningham’s leadership in CBRNE prevention, protection and response will facilitate the development and testing of counter-biological weapons technology.

Cunningham comes to the NSRI from a previous staff position at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Prior to joining the Applied Physics Laboratory, Cunningham was a Non-Commissioned Officer attached to the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in the 1st Area Medical Laboratory (AML) and 520th Theater Army Medical Laboratory (TAML).  During his time in the Army, Cunningham specialized in the field identification of biological warfare agents, analyzing thousands of samples in both a deployed field environment (during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq), and in a stationary laboratory environment (Operation Noble Eagle at USAMRIID).  His recent work includes the combination of multiple biological threat products and intelligence community inputs to provide a consolidated view of biological threat, providing observation and assessment of biological defense assets during multiple theater wide multinational military training exercises (South Korea 2007-present), and studies of biodiversity in ambient biological aerosol.

Lt. Gen. (Ret) Bob Hinson, Executive Director of the NSRI states that “Mr. Cunningham’s addition will springboard the Chemical and Biological Defense Program at the NSRI and expedite the development of counter-biological weapons technology through operations in field and laboratory environments.  He will also be building NSRI relationships with combatant commands and agencies in the counter-WMD mission space.  Mr. Cunningham’s coordination of laboratory work and field testing/sampling work across domestic and international locations will expand the grasp of our research, driving our global impact within our combating weapons of mass destruction mission”. 

“Having Mr. Carter and Mr. Cunningham on board at the NSRI gives the NSRI at the University of Nebraska new leverage in delivering relevant and timely solutions to protect our warfighters and our national security”, said Hinson.     

Carter’s and Cunningham’s duties with the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska began on February 1, 2016.  Both will be based in the Washington D.C. area, along with NSRI’s Director of Research Strategy & Chief Technology Officer, Eric Van Gieson, Ph.D.  “These very talented professionals give the NSRI a stronger presence in the nation’s capital to more effectively engage with the U.S. Government as a trusted partner in delivering technical solutions”, said Hinson.

About NSRI
Founded in 2012, the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska is the only University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) in the country dedicated to delivering solutions for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) to U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and across other federal agencies. NSRI provides research and development for the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and other governmental agencies in multiple mission-critical competency areas — including development of medical countermeasures to WMD; nuclear detection and forensics; consequence management; chemical and biological weapons detection; and space, cyber, and telecom law. Learn more at