NIHS is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, governed by a board of directors. NIHS was organized in 2004 through the leadership of Kentucky Fifth District Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers to strengthen the security of the United States by supporting the development and deployment of technological and programmatic solutions that address critical infrastructure protection and resilience.

Congressman Rogers suggested organizing the higher education institutions of Kentucky to pursue activities and technological developments aimed at improving homeland security. The Kentucky Homeland Security University Consortium resulted from his efforts. NIHS engages the development resources of the members of the Consortium as well as qualified technology developers in academia and industry beyond the Consortium.