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Conception and Formation

In late 2009, alumnus Ted Hume and his wife Karyn endowed the Hume Endowment with the goal of establishing programs at Virginia Tech that would prepare students for careers working in national security with the goal of cultivating and sustaining a pipeline of top-notch talent ready to hit the ground running in careers working for defense and intelligence agencies and their contractors. Virginia Tech formed the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology and the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering provided a faculty position for its director.  Simultaneously, Virginia Tech received a grant jointly with Howard University as an Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence. This provided funding for student outreach programs and curriculum development in national security.  These factors all came together with the formal launch of the Hume Center in April 2010, with Jeff Reed named the interim director. Charles Clancy joined in July 2010 as the Center's Associate Director, based in Arlington, VA. A formal kickoff ceremony was held in August 2010.

Startup Years

With the launch of the Hume Center in 2010, a search for the director began. For the first year, the Center operated lean and began working with a number of intelligence agencies to develop a few key major programs. By mid-2011, Charles Clancy was named Director and Bob McGwier joined as the Director of Research to oversee the growing research programs in Blacksburg. In October 2011 the research partnership with L-3 Communications was executed, which accelerated the initial growth of the Hume Center.  From 2011 through 2013, the center increased in size ten-fold. Mark Goodwin joined as Deputy Director. The Hume Center sustained and grew its relationship with key intelligence agencies.

ICTAS Center

In late 2013, the Hume Center was reorganized into a center within the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences (ICTAS), giving it the necessary resources to scale, including significant real estate and staffing expansion. The center formalized research leadership positions to provide additional scalability.  In October 2014 the education partnership with SAIC was executed, accelerating its undergraduate engagement programs, scholarship programs, and curricular and extracurricular activities. The Hume Center was also recertified as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research that year.

University Center

In July 2017, the Hume Center became a university center, reporting directly to the Vice President for Research and Innovation.  This change came with an update to the operating budget model for the Hume Center, along with the design and construction of a dedicated facility in the Blacksburg Commercial Research Center to support the Hume Center's programs. In 2019, Eric Paterson, the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor and head of the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in the College of Engineering, was named interim executive director of the Hume Center.

Formation of the National Security Institute

In the fiscal year 2020, Virginia Tech’s research enterprise saw growth at $550 million in expenditures and 15% increase in sponsored awards. The Department of Defense  is Virginia Tech’s largest source of federal funding with approximately $50 million in fiscal year 2020.

Bringing together transdisciplinary researchers, programs, and resources from across the university, including the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology and the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC), the institute initiated to integrate student learning and cutting-edge research at a scale, unmatched by other organizations.

In September 2021, Virginia Tech announced the formation of the Virginia Tech National Security Institute, aspiring to become the nation's preeminent academic organization at the nexus of interdisciplinary research, technology, policy, and talent development to advance national security.