Jordan Schnell, a UNK cyber security major from Central City, is among six University of Nebraska students who have joined the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) as strategic deterrence interns.
Throughout the summer, they will each use their problem-solving skills to address real-world, mission-related policy and technical challenges for U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), which sponsors NSRI as a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC).
“Through this experience, these students will have the opportunity to dive deeply into USSTRATCOM’s primary focus – strategic deterrence,” said Maj. Gen., USAF (Ret.) Rick Evans, NSRI executive director. “Especially given current events, this is an extremely valuable experience for these young leaders who could quite possibly be contributing significantly to our nation’s national security in the future. We certainly hope to inspire them to aim for that ambitious target.”
To explore challenges related to USSTRATCOM’s primary nuclear deterrence mission, the interns will examine two key areas of significant interest to the Command – Game Theory and electromagnetic spectrum operations.
Game Theory interns will work to improve decision making in strategic relationships, particularly in the new era of tripolar nuclear rivals. Game Theory is a branch of mathematics used to model strategic interactions between individuals or groups with diverging incentives.
The second group of interns will work for electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) programs to apply best practices in crowdsourced radio frequency network penetration testing to protect networks from vulnerabilities in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).
“The project I’m working on will help support USSTRATCOM by enabling them to see new perspectives and new ways to protect the electromagnetic spectrum,” Schnell said. “Overall, I wanted to pursue this internship in order to gain more experience in the cyber security realm, but then also to learn more about national security and be able to help defend the country.”
Through a range of tasks, including reviewing prior unclassified work, developing a research concept, conducting test planning and execution and more, the interns will conduct academically rigorous research while expanding their skill sets.
Ultimately, they will report research findings and offer recommendations for future research to NSRI and USSTRATCOM by the time their appointments end in August. They will also have the opportunity to brief USSTRATCOM leadership at the Command’s headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha.