Peter Van Ness, M.S.

Peter Van Ness
Adjunct Faculty
Management Department
Pompea College of Business

M.S., Government Information Leadership, Cyber Security Leader Concentration, and Chief Information Officer Master’s Certificate. National Defense University, 2015

M.S., Information Systems Management. George Mason University, 2001

B.S., Marine Sciences. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 1995

About Peter

I joined the faculty at the University of New Haven in October of 2020. I am a former Senior Program Manager for Akima, an Alaska Native Owned Corporation, and a retired U.S. Coast Guard senior officer with 25 years of technical leadership experience and background in strategic planning, personnel training and development, and delivering successful IT operations, management and cybersecurity programs for Infrastructure Modernization and Contingency Operations.

I grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY and spent much of my youth enjoying the outdoors of northern New York, Vermont, and Maine. I graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and became a deck watch officer (ship driver) and law enforcement officer. As a young officer, I became immersed in secure voice and data communications. My first big project was a complete redesign of data delivery to Coast Guard cutters using encrypted high frequency radio systems (at 2400 baud!). My first operational command was a cutter operating with coalition forces in the Northern Arabian Gulf and Iraqi territorial seas during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I went on to command a cutter out of Sandy Hook, NJ, the Communication Station for Alaska, the North Pacific and Bearing Sea, and finally the Coast Guard’s Enterprise IT infrastructure command. I served as a military Presidential Communications Officer for President Bush and President Obama, and I managed the office of the Coast Guard Cyber Commander and CIO.

In my free time I enjoy playing and coaching volleyball, dabbling in amateur photography, and attending sporting events. My wife, Christy, and I have been married for 16 years and we have two teenage daughters, Anna and Lilly, and a German Shepard/Lab mix named Cutter.

Field Experience

Most recently, I served as a Senior Program Manager directing a worldwide team and managing a $20 million annual IT Systems Support program for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), including Network Operations, Software Deployment and Release Management, Patch Deployment, Configuration Management, Enterprise IT Support (Service Desk, Local Desktop Support, and Tier 3 Incident Response), Back-up and Disaster Recovery Services, Information Assurance, Vulnerability and Cyber Hygiene Management.

I was Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard’s IT infrastructure command, and oversaw engineering, operations, lifecycle planning, and cybersecurity for worldwide IT infrastructure supporting Coast Guard operations. My command invested over $250 million annually to enhance and secure network infrastructure and information services in support of military and law enforcement missions on shore, at sea, and during contingency operations.

I also led daily business operations for office of the U.S. Coast Guard CIO and Cyber Commander, including strategic planning, policy development, and program management of enterprise information resources and cybersecurity for 55,000 users.

Research / Interest Areas

While my career has been operationally and business focused for the last 25 years, my key interests fall in two overlapping areas: Cybersecurity as a risk management activity that directly supports business operations, and public sector IT modernization and cybersecurity maturation.

At its foundation, cybersecurity is a risk management process. We can only say data is 100% secure if it is locked away where no one can access it, and a truly secure computer is one that is unplugged and off. Digital Information exists to support the daily operations and business goals of the enterprise. Cybersecurity leaders must be well versed in identifying, managing, and communicating risk. Small businesses, local governments, school districts and public utilities are making progress, but still have a great need for leaders capable of managing their operations in a technology driven world; a world where almost every activity depends upon information gathered, stored, and transferred through cyberspace.

Courses Taught
  • MGMT 6663 - Leadership and Team Building
  • MGMT 6815 - Strategic Management and Governance of Information Assets
  • MGMT 6657 - Risk Management
  • MGMT 6805 - Global Perspectives on Cybersecurity Operations

In the Media