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The National Security Institute's research activities principally focus on cybersecurity, resilience, and autonomy challenges faced by the national security and homeland security communities. The National Security Institute has built deep technical expertise in a number of general areas, which can be applied across mission-focused research initiatives that change as the nature of the national security threat to the United States changes. These core technical areas are built on strong partnership that are built around specific technical disciplines with academic departments and centers. If you are interested in conducting research in any of our research divisions, click on the webpage to learn more and inquire.

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    Graduate and undergraduate students at Space @VT, the Center for Space Science and Engineering Research.
    Mission Systems Division

    National security applications of smallsats, missionoriented satellite constellation design, airborne autonomous vehicles.

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    Intelligent Systems Division
    Intelligent Systems Division

    Data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and complex systems engineering.

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    Spectrum Dominance Division
    Spectrum Dominance Division

    Spectrum Dominance, RF Machine Learning, Embedded Security, and Quantum Information.

Many of the National Security Institute's current research programs involve partnerships with faculty in engineering departments. Wireless @ Virginia Tech provides key expertise necessary for execution of programs such as resilient military communications technologies. 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.

The National Security Institute'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 National Security Institute 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.

areas of research

The Virginia Tech National Security Institute is dedicated to strengthening the nation's safety through means of innovative research, guided by the robust expertise of our affiliated faculty researchers. We strive to provide students with hands-on research experience on a diverse set of topics.

  • Intelligent systems
  • Cybersecurity & complex systems 
  • Assured and secure communications, Next G wireless 
  • Antennas, scattering & propagation 
  • Advanced C4ISR and counter-C4ISR 
  • RF machine learning 
  • Open Gen wireless innovation 
  • Quantum and heterogeneous computing
  • Space and undersea systems
  • Resilient, autonomous missions
  • Remote & in-situ sensing 
  • Mission engineering 
  • Data science, ML, AI, AI Assurance 
  • Validation and test & evaluation 
  • Deep learning for sensor processing 
  • Data fusion and sensemaking 
  • Applications that extend to space, energy, advanced manufacturing, mobility and autonomy, and more.
centers, labs, & programs

The National Security Institute partners with centers and organizations like these, both internal and external to the university, to holistically approach the modern challenges of national security.