The mission of the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology is to cultivate the next generation of national security leaders by developing and executing curricular, extracurricular, and research opportunities to engage students. Education programs engage principally undergraduates through curriculum development, extracurricular programs, internship and career opportunities in the national security sector, and scholarships. Research directorate supports graduate assistantships through sponsored research with defense and intelligence organizations in the areas of communication and computation.
It is important to recognize that the core mission of the Hume Center is student-focused. Research activities support the student ecosystem, and as such all research activities include student participation. Research programs that would not support student involvement either because of their timing or nature of work are inconsistent with the student-focused mission of the Center.
The Hume Center's education programs provide opportunities for hundreds of students per year to be engaged in national security programs. These activities are funded through the Hume endowment and educational grants, such as the SAIC National Security Educational Program and the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service. Virginia Tech is an Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence.
The Hume Center has led the College of Engineering in developing national security curriculum for engineering majors, and spearheaded efforts to overhaul the cybersecurity curriculum with a new undergraduate minor, graduate certificate, and new courses.
Research activities principally focus on cybersecurity, resilience, and autonomy challenges faced by the national security and homeland security communities.
For military-focused organizations, work focuses around the domain of command, control, communications, computation, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and counter-C4ISR domains such as electronic warfare (EW) and cyber warfare.
For intelligence-focused organization, program emphasis is on signals intelligence (SIGINT) and computer network operations (CNO). This includes a wide range of disciplines such as signal interception and collection, cyber espionage, and the big data challenges of intelligence analysis.
For homeland defense organizations, research emphasizes defending critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR). This includes activities ranging from power grid resilience to cyber infrastructure defense.
Research is organized, pursued, executed, and administered in three sub-units: Electronic Systems, Information Systems, and Aerospace Systems.
Ultimate research direction for the Hume Center is guided by the technical areas of expertise of academic faculty, augmented by the research faculty of the Hume Center. Groups such as Wireless @ Virginia Tech provide key expertise necessary for execution of programs such as resilient military communications technologies. Groups such as Space @ Virginia Tech and the Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems provide opportunities for unique military and intelligence payloads to be hosted on satellites and unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs).
Many of the Hume Center's current research programs involve partnerships with faculty in engineering departments. The Hume Center's team of program managers provide professional management services to research programs, and the research laboratories provide research faculty to augment the faculty/student team enabling Virginia Tech to pursue and deliver upon larger, more complex programs.
Within the context of military programs, the Hume Center focuses principally on the Science and Technology (S&T) subset of the Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E). This includes Department of Defense (DOD) budget categories 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3, with an emphasis on 6.2 and 6.3 programs.
As a land grant university, Virginia Tech has a mission to be a resource within the Commonwealth of Virginia and more broadly the nation. As such the Hume Center contributes to the broader ecosystem in its areas of technical expertise. This involves activities such as consulting with federal agencies on research agendas of national importance, working closely with the Commonwealth's Secretary of Technology on making Virginia a recognized leader in cybersecurity, and supporting the General Assembly in vetting technology aspects of proposed legislation. Hume Center faculty are also heavily involved in academic service, to include conference leadership and journal editorships.
Additionally, the Hume Center provides service to the university through management of a number of strategic programs, and in particular partnerships with the defense contractor industry.