University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter announced today that following a national search, he has named Rick Evans, a retired Major General in the U.S. Air Force with nearly 40 years of experience in senior military roles, as the second executive director of NU’s National Strategic Research Institute.
Evans, NSRI’s interim executive director since January, will assume the permanent role on July 1.
Created in 2012, NSRI is the University-Affiliated Research Center of the U.S. Strategic Command. It brings together expertise from across the NU system to conduct exclusive research for USSTRATCOM, the Department of Defense and the federal government focused on preparing for, responding to and mitigating chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. It is one of only 14 University-Affiliated Research Centers in the country.
To date, NSRI has received some $300 million in research contract awards, delivering solutions to more than 40 federal customers. NSRI last year earned a $92 million contract renewal from USSTRATCOM that will allow agencies across the federal government to continue to efficiently work with University of Nebraska faculty and researchers to address evolving national security threats.
"One of the highest responsibilities of a leader in the military is to build other leaders. Rick Evans has spent his distinguished career doing just that," Carter said. "With Rick at the helm at NSRI, we haven’t missed a beat in performing work that serves the needs of our partners at USSTRATCOM and protects our country from those who would do us harm.
"I’m confident Rick is the right person to lead us forward. He brings the experience, relationships and deep commitment to the mission necessary to expand NSRI’s impact even further. This is an exciting new chapter for NSRI and all the faculty, researchers and partners whose work is making a true difference for the safety and security of the United States and our women and men in uniform."
Carter thanked the search committee, chaired by NSRI Chairman of the Board Van Mauney and representing the faculty and administrations of all NU campuses, for its work.
"It is a great honor to have this opportunity to continue contributing to the national security objectives of the Department of Defense and the broader federal government," Evans said. "Since NSRI’s inception, the University of Nebraska and the NSRI team have delivered critical expertise, technology and research to help keep our warfighters and first responders safe. We look to stay ahead of the threats our nation faces by working with our sponsors to find bold, innovative and effective solutions to their needs.
"NSRI will continue to be a great mission partner through empowering action, building resilient teams and encouraging creativity in order to meet our mission."
Evans joined NSRI in 2019 as deputy executive director. Prior to that, he held various senior roles at USSTRATCOM at Offutt Air Force Base, serving as principal advisor to the Commander and staff on mission-critical areas like strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, space and cyberspace operations, missile defense and warfare analysis. He was responsible for operations, planning and support to the nation’s 150,000 personnel assigned to strategic nuclear missions, and led the Command’s planning, programming and budgeting, including more than $10 billion in annual activity.
Evans was program manager for USSTRATCOM’s $1.3 billion Command and Control Facility and in 2016 served as Acting Deputy Commander, with responsibility directly to the president of the United States and U.S. Secretary of Defense.
Evans received his commission in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science. He has commanded at the detachment, squadron, group and wing levels. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School with more than 4,000 flying hours, including 153 combat hours.
Evans is an Omaha native and graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He and his wife, Joy, live in Lincoln.