Michael Byrne serves as the Assistant Administrator for Field Operations within the Office of Response and Recovery in Washington, D.C. Appointed in September 2017, he is responsible for developing, maintaining, and deploying a disaster workforce that is well trained, educated, and prepared to support disaster survivors and first responders. FEMA's disaster workforce is comprised of more than 13,000 personnel who support all-hazard operations, including the Reservist Workforce, Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs), Field Leaders, FEMA Corps, Full-time Employees, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Surge Capacity Force.
Byrne previously served as the Regional Administrator (January 2017-May 2017) and Deputy Regional Administrator of FEMA Region II (September 2015-September 2017). During this time, he oversaw oversees the day-to-day operations, including all program activities, as well as the response to, recovery from and preparedness for all hazards in the region, which encompasses the States of New Jersey and New York, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territory of the United States Virgin Islands and the Native American Tribes in the Region.
As a leader, Byrne emphasizes a corporate culture of commitment, compassion and courage – commitment to team and mission; compassion for survivors and co-workers; and the courage to do whatever is necessary to save lives and reduce suffering.
Byrne’s public safety career spans 32 years and is highlighted by positions in direct emergency response, disaster management and recovery program execution, as well as senior level management and policy appointments. A native New Yorker, he served 20 years with the Fire Department of New York City. His career with New York City also included service as 1st Deputy Director with the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management.
In 1999 Byrne joined FEMA as the Region II Response and Recovery Division Director. He led the response to multiple disasters in the role of Federal Coordinating Officer and served as the regional Operations Chief after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. In late 2001 Mr. Byrne joined the newly-created Office of Homeland Security as Senior Director for Response and Recovery, where he directed the development of innovative policies, procedures and programs, including the National Incident Management System, National Response Plan and the First Responder Grant Program.
Byrne’s private sector experience includes two years with Microsoft Corporation as Director of Justice and Public Safety. While Chief Program Executive of management consulting firm ICF International, he managed “The Road Home,” a ten-billion-dollar recovery program in Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Byrne has also supported the American Red Cross as its Division Disaster Executive, Pacific Division, leading the response for a number of events including the Oso landslide, wildfires on the U.S. west coast and typhoons in Guam and Saipan.
Rejoining FEMA in 2010, Byrne led an Incident Management Assistance Team in the federal response to a number of complex incidents, including the Haiti earthquake and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He served as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Hurricane Sandy in New York prior to accepting the position of Region II Deputy Regional Administrator.
Byrne was the 2011 recipient of the FEMA Administrator’s Award for Innovation and was named by Government Technology magazine as one of the “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” in the public sector.
A graduate of City University of New York at Queens College, Byrne holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in Philosophy. He is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Leadership in Homeland Security program.