Christopher B. Smith

Chris Smith
Office of Response and Recovery

Director, Individual Assistance Division

Chris Smith is the Director of the Individual Assistance (IA) Division, Office of Response and Recovery, Recovery Directorate, at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Chris joined FEMA in May 2015, when he was appointed to the Senior Executive Service. As Director, Chris is responsible for the delivery of five Stafford Act Authorities that support the disaster recovery of individuals and households as well as the coordination of Mass Care and Emergency Services and a plethora of support functions that ensure help gets to those in need at the right place and time.

As a dynamic, human-centered leader, Chris provides direction to over 1,200 full-time staff and 2,600 Reservists to assist the nation in preparing for and recovering from disasters. Whether making strategic policy decisions during disaster operations or directing the implementation of legislative changes during steady-state, Chris is committed to meeting FEMA’s mission of helping people before, during and after disasters. Over the past five years, Chris has overseen the delivery of nearly $6 billion in IA assistance to survivors during unprecedented disasters in the past few years.

Chris’ success as the IA Division Director is the culmination of over 15 years of emergency management experience at the state and local levels. Prior to FEMA, he served as Chief of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Advisor to the Governor of the State of Nevada and Emergency Management Director for the Washoe County School District. A major element of the IA mission is coordination with Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies and voluntary, faith-based, philanthropic, and private sector organizations. Chris leverages his experience as a local and state emergency manager as he leads the Individual Assistance Division with a focus on the provision of customer-focused, responsive, and integrated support to states and partner organizations.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science and a Master of Education Leadership, both from the University of Nevada. He is an outdoors enthusiast who enjoys an active lifestyle and spends his downtime exploring the Washington, DC, area. Chris is currently an active Boy Scouts leader and an Amateur Radio operator.

Last updated March 19, 2021