This page will help you learn more about the Office of External Affairs roles and responsibilities, leadership, and organizational structure.
The Office of External Affairs was created in 2007, bringing together several independent offices and adding two new divisions to enhance a coordinated communications program for the agency.
The Office's purpose is to maintain visibility regarding public and internal communications; coordinate routine and special communications; ensure accurate, useful, timely, synchronized, targeted communication; and provide continuous messaging to meet the needs of the situation. The Office also serves as an advisor to FEMA program and support offices on decision making, development, and maintenance of policies and programs to ensure that activities are responsive to stakeholder, media, congressional and other audiences
Our mission is to engage, inform and educate all FEMA stakeholders in support of the Agency's programs and initiatives to achieve its mission.
- Director: Jessica Nalepa
- Deputy Director (Acting): Alexandra Travis
- Director, Congressional Affairs Division: Robby Wehagen
- Director, Disaster Operations Division: Marty Bahamonde
- Director, Intergovernmental Affairs Division (Acting): Bob Nadeau
- Director, Public Affairs Division (Acting): Mark Peterson
- Director, Strategic Communications Division (Acting): Lea Crager
- Executive Officer / Director, Coordination and Business Operations: Vallee Bunting
The Congressional Affairs Division (CAD) is the Federal Emergency Management Agency's primary liaison with the United States Congress. The division maintains communications with Congress in both official and informal capacities. CAD's mission is to proactively engage and communicate with Members of Congress and their staff to build strong working relationships that will advance the Agency's legislative and emergency management priorities.
General Contact Line: 202-646-4500
The Disaster Operations Division provides leadership, training, coordination and support to the Agency's External Affairs function during incidents of national significance or incidents requiring a coordinated federal response. The Director of Disaster Operations also serves as the senior External Affairs official on all incident response activations and operations.
Contact Information: FEMA-EA-RSV
The Intergovernmental Affairs Division (IGA) provides direct communication and outreach to state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) officials, including governors and state officials, state legislators, tribal governments, small states and rural constituencies, territorial governments, county/parish officials, mayors and city managers, and city councils. In addition, IGA fosters and maintains relationships with national associations who represent SLTT governments, emergency managers, and homeland security officials. IGA also continues to build relationships with key constituency groups that have been traditionally underserved by the Federal government.
Contact Information: 202-646-3444 or email us at FEMA-IGA
FEMA established a Private Sector Division within the Office of External Affairs in October 2007. The Division's mission is to communicate, cultivate and advocate for collaboration between the U.S. private sector and FEMA, to support FEMA's capabilities and to enhance national preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation of all hazards. Additionally, the division's vision is to establish and maintain a national reputation for effective support to our private sector stakeholders through credible, reliable and meaningful two-way communication.
Contact Information: FEMA-Private-Sector
The Public Affairs Division provides information to the American public that helps them prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from disasters by establishing and maintaining effective, ongoing relationships with the media to promote the Agency's programs, goals and core values; servicing our internal and external customers by developing communication strategies that support the Agency's mission; providing disaster survivors with timely and accurate information, and managing communications to demonstrate an effective federal response to disasters.
Contact information:FEMA-News-Desk@fema.dhs.gov or 202-646-3272
Hours it is staffed/available: Office hours (after hours, calls routed to FOC, who sends us queries if they come in)
Purpose: Receive queries from reporters.
FEMA established a Strategic Communications Division within the Office of External Affairs to establish proactive planning and coordination for agency offices and programs. The division, through its strategic communications advisors, will coordinate internally with agency offices to prioritize, organize, and implement communication strategies, produce materials for stakeholder audiences, and support program policies and initiatives. The division will foster a whole community approach to its planning efforts, including the recognition and integration of specialized communications tactics that consider needs related to language barriers, cultural diversity, and disability.
Coordination and Business Operations
The Coordination and Business Operations Division provides consolidated management and administrative support for External Affairs. The mission of the division is to ensure External Affairs staff has the resources, training, and processes necessary to meet the External Affairs mission, and that these resources are managed effectively on behalf of the Agency and the U.S. citizens.
Contact Information: FEMA-EA-Action-Office
Launched in February 2003, Ready is a national public service advertising campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.
Ready and its Spanish language version, Listo, ask individuals to do three key things:
- Get an emergency supply kit;
- Make a family emergency plan; and
- Be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.
The campaign's messages have been distributed through television, radio, print, outdoor and Web PSAs developed and produced by The Advertising Council; brochures; Ready.gov and Listo.gov websites; toll-free phone lines 1-800-BE-Ready and 1-888-SE-Listo; and partnerships with a wide variety of public and private sector organizations.
Contact Information: Ready