The challenge of assuring the security of our homeland involves protecting the citizens of the United States, the nation’s critical infrastructure and key assets and, ultimately, the nation’s vitality against terrorism and other threats. Successfully meeting this challenge requires commitment to traditional homeland defense practices as well as discovering, developing and implementing new technology that will underpin efficient, effective homeland security operations of the future.
The National Institute For Hometown Security (NIHS) provides an on-going, integrated program dedicated to (1) developing new technologies and devices through qualified academic research that protect community-based critical infrastructure and (2) facilitating the successful deployment of the technologies. By promoting collaboration among a number of institutions, NIHS offers a flexible research platform that matches research requirements with research resources. NIHS also focuses on the application of the product of research and development. Through its commercialization program, NIHS encourages technology transfer and laboratory-to-market processes that support the ultimate adoption of new technology and products.
The NIHS area of interest is community-based critical infrastructure protection. The U. S. Department of Homeland Security defines “critical infrastructure” as systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters. NIHS is dedicated to community-based critical infrastructure because most of this infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. The infrastructure is not concentrated in one locale, but rather it is found throughout the nation, in metropolitan centers, in mid-size cities and in small towns or unincorporated villages.
NIHS is a private, non-profit 501 (c)3 corporation. NIHS was organized in 2004 through the leadership of Kentucky Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers. Congressman Rogers suggested organizing the higher education institutions of Kentucky to more effectively compete for research funds and projects aimed at improving homeland security. The Kentucky Homeland Security University Consortium resulted from his efforts. NIHS is the administrative manager for the Consortium.