Interdisciplinary team to strategize NU's NC3 contribution

June 02, 2020

From left: Andrew Harms, James Talor, Tadeusz Wysocki, Elsbeth Magilton, Hau Chan, Peter Muhlberger, Mehmet C. Vuran, Spyridon Mastorakis, Nicolas Lalone



The National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska (NU) in collaboration with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the University of Nebraska at Omaha has convened an interdisciplinary research team to harness the intellectual capacity of the university for the benefit of the future nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) operational capabilities supporting United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).

Through a series of workshops and customer engagements, the team of nine researchers and faculty will collect the modeling and simulation capabilities and expertise across the NC3 mission space that currently exists in the NU system. They will also identify capability gaps and work to find solutions to fill those gaps. 

This collected data will be used to establish a robust research capability that can execute deliverables and create solutions to fulfill the needs of USSTRATCOM’s NC3 Enterprise Center (NEC).

“We are constantly working with our university colleagues to evolve our thinking and our capacity to serve USSTRATCOM, sponsor of our University Affiliated Research Center, to deliver mission-relevant solutions to their toughest challenges,” said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Hinson, NSRI executive director. “With this dynamic team assembled, this initiative has the potential to create a future-focused mechanism for the university, STRATCOM and other federal agencies to gain tangible research, analysis, products and solutions to 21st century problems.”

Project team members include:

Andrew Harms (PI)

Assistant professor

Electrical and computer engineering


Tadeusz Wysocki
Electrical and Computer Engineering

James Taylor


STRATCOM Mission Systems


Elsbeth Magilton

Executive Director

Technology, Security, and Space Law Initiatives

College of Law


Hau Chan


Computer Science and Engineering


Peter Muhlberger

Research Associate Professor

Public Policy


Mehmet C. Vuran

Susan J. Rosowski Professor

Computer Science and Engineering


Spyridon Mastorakis

Assistant Professor

Computer Science


Nicolas Lalone

Assistant Professor

Information Systems & Quantitative Analysis


Formed in 2018 in response to the Secretary of Defense designating the commander of USSTRATCOM as the NC3 Enterprise lead, the NEC was tasked with supporting operations, requirements generation and systems engineering and integration across all currently operational NC3 mission areas. This responsibility includes the “next generation” of NC3 capabilities and the ever-challenging requirement to deliver reliable, endurable and secure communications carrying the nation’s most important decisions in the most stressful environments.

As this new organization tackles the important challenge of maintaining the viability of current NC3 capabilities, it must simultaneously explore future technologies and innovations to enable warfighter-driven capabilities that will outpace advanced threats in a future operating environment that spans from 2030 to 2080.


This project was created through NU's Collaboration Initiative and approved through external review. With efforts kicking off this June, the anticipated completion date of this initial work is fall 2021.

“The NC3 mission is sometimes referred to as the ‘fourth leg’ of our nuclear triad,” Taylor said.  “Without a reliable, assured and redundant NC3 system to support our nuclear forces, they can’t do their mission.

“I’m excited about the opportunity and proud of how the University of Nebraska is coming together to support our USSTRATCOM sponsor to bring talent and innovation to address this critical national security challenge.”