USSTRATCOM Leadership Fellows Program Hosts Third Annual Graduation Ceremony

April 21, 2016

Ten handpicked civilian employees who have spent the last 13 weeks at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), will graduate on Friday, April 22nd as the third graduating class of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Fellows.  The USSTRATCOM Leadership Fellows Program is the result of a special partnership between the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska and USSTRATCOM. 

The USSTRATCOM Leadership Fellows Program graduation ceremony will take place at the University of Nebraska’s Peter Kiewit Institute on the UNO campus, 1110 S. 67th Street Omaha, Nebraska, in room 158 at 11 a.m.  Mike Kemp, Associate Athletic Director of UNO Athletics will be the keynote speaker.  A reception will follow in the atrium of the Peter Kiewit Institute.  Visitors without UNO parking permits may park in Lot 2 which is just north of the Peter Kiewit Institute building. 

NSRI, UNO and USSTRATCOM launched the Leadership Fellows Program in March 2014 as a first-of-its-kind initiative under the NSRI, a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) dedicated to delivering solutions for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) to USSTRATCOM.  The program includes classroom-based and hands-on learning opportunities to provide graduate-level leadership development to civilian leaders within USSTRATCOM. 

“This Program has become an important part of developing our workforce to better understand the challenges and create innovative approaches for 21st century deterrence in an extremely complex global security environment,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USSTRATCOM commander. “We began this graduate fellowship program with the University of Nebraska at Omaha two years ago, and it continues to make a positive difference.”

Ten individuals were carefully chosen to be the 2016 Fellows by “a selection board of the Senior Executive Service (SES), who are the highest ranking civilian leaders at USSTRATCOM,” said Douglas Derrick, Ph.D., assistant professor of IT Innovation. “Quite simply, they are the best-of-the-best civilian leaders at USSTRATCOM, which is why the government is making a significant investment in their development.” 

Members of UNO’s third USSTRATCOM Strategic Leadership Fellows Program were formally welcomed in a January 2016, ceremony.

Overseeing this program are Douglas Derrick, Ph.D., assistant professor of IT Innovation and Gina Ligon, Ph.D., assistant professor of Management and Collaboration Science. Ligon and Derrick have conducted numerous other research projects on national security strategies for the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.

“We are excited to have sharpened the Fellows’ leadership skills through enrichment activities at local businesses such as the Omaha World-Herald and First National Bank.” Ligon said. “During collaborative sessions, these high-performing leaders had the opportunity to interact with similar-level leaders from two of our state’s top employers. It has been a great opportunity for public-private collaboration and mutual learning.”

In addition to coursework and capstone projects, Fellows engage with senior military leaders from USSTRATCOM, private business leaders throughout Nebraska and academic professionals from UNO, as well as the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the University of Nebraska Lincoln and the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  This has been the first year that all four University of Nebraska campuses have been involved in the 13-week Fellows Program.

From January through April, the Fellows have taken classes in Mammel Hall’s Executive Decision Laboratory, housed in UNO’s College of Business Administration and administered by UNO’s Center for Collaboration Science.  In addition, given UNO’s expertise in information science, the Fellows took courses in cryptography, information assurance and cyber security. One week of the program featured nationally recognized faculty who discussed topics such as Russian literature, comparative politics and destructive world leaders.

Following graduation, this year’s participants will return to their departments within USSTRATCOM. However, for those looking to continue their education, the graduate credits earned through the 13-week program will count toward a future UNO graduate degree.


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

About the University of Nebraska at Omaha

Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.


One of nine DoD unified combatant commands, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) has global strategic missions, assigned through the Unified Command Plan, which include strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; combating weapons of mass destruction; and analysis and targeting.