LSU Stephenson National Center for Security Research and Training Becomes Security Programs Institute

November 29, 2022

BATON ROUGE – Motivated by a mindset of growth, and in support of LSU’s Scholarship First Agenda, the Stephenson National Center for Security Research and Training, or SNCSRT, is modernizing its name to become the LSU Stephenson Security Programs Institute, or SPI.

The new name will allow SPI to support LSU’s agenda to create a thematic zone for defense capabilities at LSU by building and strengthening collaborations with local, state and federal partners in national security and cybersecurity.

“Renaming SNCSRT to SPI modernizes and reenforces LSU’s strategic focus on defense and cybersecurity. The Institute will build new programs responsive to the demands of national security in applied research, technology creation and talent development,” said William F. Tate IV, LSU President. “The name change symbolizes LSU’s continued alignment of research programs designed to increase actionable opportunities within our pentagon of priorities.”

LSU established SNCSRT, now SPI, in 2003 to coordinate efforts in security research and training. The institute is comprised of three organizations with 120 full-time personnel, 325 subject matter experts and more than 110 student workers and interns. Each organization specializes in a unique aspect of the national security and defense fields. These organizations include:

  • Stephenson Disaster Management Institute enhances LSU's ability to focus its existing programs and research capacity on the particular problems of disasters and works with its LSU research affiliates to collaborate on projects and research proposals that will improve disaster preparedness and response.
  • National Center for Biomedical Research and Training/Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education is a nationally recognized center for emergency preparedness and response training with expertise in research, development and delivery of training in the areas of specialized law enforcement operations, biological incident response, food and agriculture safety and security, school safety and instructional design and technique.
  • National Interagency Support Center provides technical support, operational support and hotline intake to partner agencies related to law enforcement and fraud, waste and abuse within government programs. Key to the NISC’s mission is supporting law enforcement information sharing and efforts to protect victims from criminal activity. 

In May, James Olson was named director of SPI. Olson served in the U.S. Navy for 24 years and most recently worked as the executive director for the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for National Security Initiatives.

“I am excited to lead the Security Programs Institute into this new era, and I look forward to working with our LSU, state and federal partners to ensure the SPI and its entities continue to lead the way in national security training and technology development,” Olson said. “SPI will continue to enhance research initiatives, foster economic development and increase research communications.”

Brant Mitchell is the director of operations for SPI. 

“LSU SPI is uniquely poised to respond to a variety of security needs by continuing to build partnerships with state and federal agencies,” Mitchell said.