Peter J. Boynton

Founding Co-Director, George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security
MPA, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

960 Renaissance Place
Burlington Campus
145 South Bedford Street
(617) 373-6090

Research Interests

Homeland Security, Emergency Management and Crisis Communications


Peter Boynton is the Founding Co-Director of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University.

He was previously the Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the state of Connecticut, twice confirmed by the Connecticut General Assembly. He was first appointed by Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell in 2009, and re-appointed by Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy in 2011.

While Commissioner, his department oversaw three Presidential disaster declarations and led the state-wide responses to hurricane Irene, multiple tornadoes, tropical storms, flooding, earthquake and record blizzards. He established a state-operated intelligence fusion center with local, state and federal partners and developed and implemented a new state framework for emergency response.

Boynton previously served for 28 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. His final assignment was as Captain of the Port for Connecticut and Long Island, where he was responsible for port security, search and rescue and environmental protection. He led the implementation of the post-9/11 maritime security in Long Island Sound and was the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the TOPOFF-3 exercise in New London in 2005, the largest terrorism exercise in U.S. history. He led the successful rescue of a grounded oil tanker on Long Island during a winter storm preventing a major spill and oversaw a pollution investigation that resulted in the closure of an international oil pollution loophole for foreign vessels.

While serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, he was a Director on the White House National Security Council staff, and served at the U.S. Department of State coordinating national policy on drug interdiction and migrant smuggling. He was commanding officer on three Coast Guard cutters and spent a total of ten years at sea on six cutters. At Coast Guard Headquarters, he helped create a joint program office with the Customs Service supporting operations in Florida that successfully shut down the cocaine smuggling air bridge from Colombia to South Florida. Early in his career he was on a drug interdiction task force in New York City. During his Coast Guard career, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and Presidential Service Badge among other awards.

Following his retirement from the Coast Guard, he served for two years as the Federal Security Director for the Transportation Security Administration at Bradley International Airport, coordinating passenger and air cargo security. During his tenure at Bradley he moved the airport from the bottom to among the top 10 rated TSA operations in the eastern U.S.

Boynton is on the national Board of Directors for the Military Officers Association of America, and is the appointed Chair of the Connecticut Maritime Pilot Commission. His previous non-profit work includes Vice-Chair of the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association and on the Board of Directors for the charitable Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Fund.

Boynton holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s Degree in Ocean Engineering from the Coast Guard Academy. He also holds an unlimited Master’s License for ocean-going vessels of any tonnage from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Boynton and his wife Susan are natives of Massachusetts.