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: Jeremy Greenberg (Acting)
- Director, Coordination and Business Operations Division/Executive Officer: Vallee Bunting
- Director, Communications Division (Acting): Cindy Ramsay
- Director, Congressional Affairs and Intergovernmental Affairs Division: Robby Wehagen
- Director, Disaster Operations Division: Marty Bahamonde
The Office of External Affairs (OEA) engages, informs and educates internal and external stakeholders on the Agency’s programs and initiatives to achieve FEMA’s mission of helping people before, during and after a disaster.
The OEA Executive Office is comprised of an Executive Leadership team, including the Director and Deputy Director, who provides strategic direction, oversight, and management of OEA divisional components. The Office oversees and coordinates the Agency’s Speakers' bureau, senior leadership speaking engagements, and cross-cutting policy initiatives.
Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division
The Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division serves as the Agency’s liaison to Congress, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, non-governmental agencies, and the private sector.
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
Contact Information: 202-646-3444 or email us at FEMA-IGA
The Communications Division is the centralized structure for developing programmatic outreach, methods, and messaging, to reach Agency stakeholders through a variety of platforms.
Coordination and Business Operations Division
The Coordination and Business Operations Division provides consolidated management and administrative support for OEA to include workforce planning; human resources; facility and equipment maintenance; and budget preparations. The division also manages the OEA Action Office to implement an organized and streamlined approach for responding to and tracking all requests for information from internal and external stakeholders.
Contact Information: FEMA-EA-Action-Office
Disaster Operations Division
The Disaster Operations Division provides leadership, training, coordination, and support to FEMA’s Emergency Support Function-15: External Affairs role and responsibilities during incidents requiring a Federal response. The division supports FEMA response and recovery operations through the compilation and distribution of daily EA reports – from situational awareness to incident communications summaries. In addition, Disaster Operations manages a cadre of approximately 950 people who can be deployed to impacted areas to perform the external affairs mission.
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.
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.gov