Former Administrators

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This page contains a list of Administrators (formerly called Directors) from 1979 to the present.


* Acting

NameTerm of Office
* Gordon VickeryApril 1979 - July 1979
* Thomas CaseyJuly 1979
John MacyAugust 1979 - January 1981
* Bernard GallagherJanuary 1981 - April 1981
* John W. McConnellApril 1981 - May 1981
Louis O. GiuffridaMay 1981 - September 1985
* Robert H. MorrisSeptember 1985 - November 1985
Julius W. Becton, Jr.November 1985 - June 1989
* Robert H. MorrisJune 1989 - May 1990
* Jerry D. JenningsMay 1990 - August 1990
Wallace E. StickneyAugust 1990 - January 1993
*William C. TidballJanuary 1993 - April 1993
James L. WittApril 1993 - January 2001
*John MagawJanuary 2001 - February 2001
Joe M. AllbaughFebruary 2001 - March 2003
Michael D. BrownMarch 2003 - September 2005
R. David PaulisonSeptember 2005 - January 2009
* Nancy WardJanuary 2009 - May 2009
Craig FugateMay 2009 - Present


John Macy

John Macy was named as FEMA's first director in 1981. Macy emphasized the similarities between natural hazards preparedness and the civil defense activities.  FEMA began development of an Integrated Emergency Management System with an all-hazards approach. This approach encompassed "direction, control and warning systems which are common to the full range of emergencies from small isolated events to the ultimate emergency - war." The new agency was faced with many unusual challenges in its first few years that emphasized how complex emergency management can be. Early disasters and emergencies included the contamination of Love Canal, the Cuban refugee crisis and the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.  Later, the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 focused major national attention on FEMA.

James L. Witt

In 1993, President Clinton nominated James L. Witt as the new FEMA director, becoming the first agency director with experience as a state emergency manager. He initiated sweeping reforms that streamlined disaster relief and recovery operations, insisted on a new emphasis regarding preparedness and mitigation, and focused agency employees on customer service. The end of the Cold War also allowed Witt to redirect more of FEMA's limited resources from civil defense into disaster relief, recovery and mitigation programs.

Joe M. Allbaugh

In February 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Joe M. Allbaugh as the director of FEMA. He served until FEMA's transfer into the newly created Department of Homeland Security, after which he resigned in March 2003.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown was appointed in January 2003 also by President George W. Bush and resigned soon after Hurricane Katrina, the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic tropical cyclone of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Robert David Paulison

Robert David Paulison was appointed by President George W. Bush on September 12, 2005.  At the 2009 National Hurricane Conference, he announced he would resign January 21, 2009.

W. Craig Fugate

Craig Fugate was appointed as the FEMA Administrator in May 2009 by President Barack Obama and remains as the current Administrator. His nomination received bi-partisan support in congress.

Last Updated: 
01/31/2015 - 14:58
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