Kehler tasked with combating WMDs

Weapons of mass destruction, described as one of the most pervasive threats to the United States by Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, will be addressed through a new partnership between U.S. Strategic Command and the University of Nebraska.

President Barack Obama's unified command plan tasked Kehler with leading the Defense Department's efforts to combat WMDs. Kehler previously championed the first university-affiliated research center to be sponsored by a combatant command.

In September, Stratcom entered into a five-year contract with the University of Nebraska to establish the 13th UARC within the Defense Department, which is committed to cutting edge research.

"The purpose of a UARC is to focus a high-level, world-class research university on a specific, enduring, technical hard problem," Evan J. Hoapili, Stratcom's deputy director of capabilities and resource integration, said. "The idea is to create a continuity of research and focus and generate out-of-the-box thinking to solve a problem that is vexing the department."

The University of Nebraska was selected by Stratcom because of its existing research programs at its National Strategic Research Institute.

According to Hoapili, the UARC will invite the best and brightest minds to work on nuclear forensics, ays to detect biological, chemical and nuclear threats, passive defense against weapons of mass destruction, and consequence management.

"The beauty of the UARC is that it enables you to synergize the efforts across all these different departments...into an integrated effort that is focused on the right problem set," Hoapili said. "Ultimately, what we hope to come up with are the most-efficient, cost-effective ways of detecting, eliminating and mitigating weapons of mass destruction."