Jason McNamara, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Chief of Staff, was most recently an Associate Vice President and the Director of Emergency Management/Homeland Security for Dewberry & Davis LLC, an A&E consulting firm headquartered in Fairfax, Va. His career spans more than 15 years of staff-level and supervisory experience in emergency management legislation, policy, planning and operations, including eight years with the FEMA.
Prior to joining Dewberry, McNamara served as a Professional Staff Member for the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security, leading the Democratic staff efforts for the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness and Response, and as an Assistant Vice President for Program Management at Science Applications International Corporation, where he was the Deputy Division Manager for SAIC’s Readiness and Response Division.
Prior to joining SAIC in 2001, McNamara served as the Acting Chief of the Interagency and Catastrophic Planning Section at FEMA. In this role, he managed day-to-day federal response planning activities with all Federal Response Plan signatory agencies, and implemented changes and additions to the Federal Response Plan. He also served as Operations Section Chief for Headquarters-based National Emergency Support Team in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and as agency liaison officer to the U.S. Capitol Police Board in response to the Anthrax attack on the United States Senate.
In 1998 and 2000, McNamara served as a Legislative Fellow in the Office of U.S. Senator Bob Graham, where he was the principal Democratic staff author and representative in negotiations regarding the “Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000,” which was signed into law on October 30, 2000, and represented the first substantive change in FEMA’s authorizing legislation in 12 years. In 1998, he developed and implemented Senator Graham’s comprehensive initiative on seaport safety and security, which resulted in the creation of the Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in U.S. Seaports. In 2000, he worked with the Senate Commerce Committee, the Administration, and the private sector to develop and introduce comprehensive legislation (“the Port and Maritime Security Act of 2000”) to implement the recommendations of the Commission.
In 1999, McNamara was detailed to the White House to serve as Advisor to the Chair of the President’s Council on the Year 2000, and as FEMA and the emergency management community’s liaison to the Council. He also acted as the primary liaison to the State Government Y2K Coordinators and the National Governors’ Association, and provided the Council Chair with detailed information on the readiness of State governments for the Y2K transition.
Throughout his career at FEMA, 1993 - 2001, McNamara participated in the planning, execution, and evaluation of FEMA sponsored disaster response exercises and actual emergency response operations. His field assignments included the Oklahoma City bombing, 1995, Hurricane Opal, 1995, the Northridge, Calif., Earthquake, 1994, and numerous other floods and hurricanes.
McNamara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware. He lives in Washington, with his wife, Moira Whelan, and his son, Finn.