KU gains new Department of Defense research expertise

LAWRENCE — A former senior leader in the Department of Defense (DOD) research community has joined the University of Kansas’ Office of Graduate Military Programs as its director of national security research.

Kurt Preston

Kurt Preston comes to KU with over 35 years of combined experience leading research programs in DOD and the U.S. Army. He most recently led the Resource Conservation and Resilience portfolio within DoD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. 

“We are excited to have Dr. Preston join the university,” said Mike Denning, director of the Office of Graduate Military Programs. “His experience inside the Beltway and leading DoD research programs aligns with the research and discovery institutional priority of Jayhawks Rising.” 

“The opportunity to return to the heartland and be involved in the vibrant KU community is a joy,” Preston said. “DoD basic and applied research enterprise provides academic thought leaders a key pathway to advance their work and contribute to our national security. I am excited to be at KU to help connect and colleague our researchers in these efforts.”

In addition to his insight into the DoD research enterprise, Preston brings expertise in environmental and climate change challenges around the globe. He played a lead role in the recently released National Climate Assessment, which summarizes the impacts of climate change on the U.S., and he recently led an interagency team that wrote key portions of the federal government’s 2022-2026 Arctic Research Plan.

His academic experience includes serving as a tenured professor and associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Nebraska. In addition to his assignment within the Office of Graduate Military Programs, Preston will serve as professor of practice in the School of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.  

Wed, 01/24/2024


Mike Denning

Media Contacts

Mike Denning

Office of Military Graduate Programs