Damon Penn

Damon Penn

Assistant Administrator, National Preparedness Directorate (Acting)

Mr. Damon Penn currently serves as the Acting Assistant Administrator for the National Preparedness Directorate (NPD). In this role, Mr. Penn leads an organization that oversees FEMA’s efforts to provide programs that improve the nation’s resilience for disasters of all types and sizes and ensures the Whole Community is prepared. Mr. Penn served as Deputy Assistant Administrator of NPD beginning January 2022.

Prior to Mr. Penn’s role in NPD, he served as the Assistant Administrator for the Response Directorate for six years.  During his tenure, he led the Agency’s response to the unprecedented 2017 hurricane season when 17 named storms, including hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate, rocked our nation.  2017 also saw the first two major hurricanes to hit the continental U.S. in 12 years.  2017 was the seventh most active hurricane season since 1851 and the agency’s response was flawless.  Under Mr. Penn’s leadership, the Agency conducted its largest response on record, resulting in a record National Response Coordination Center activation of 83 days.  This was to be surpassed only by FEMA’s COVID-19 response, which has lasted from 2020 to the present and eclipsed the previous record with an unimagined 400+ days of activation that involved over 450 FEMA and interagency partners.  This robust response enabled the agency to provide an initial operating capability of over 4 million vaccinations per day, supporting 1,200 vaccination sites, deploying over 9,000 interagency partners, managing over 200 lines of critical life-saving equipment, and responding to as many as 200 state requests for support simultaneously.  The 2020 hurricane season added to this achievement a FEMA response to 14 hurricanes, 7 major, and tied with the record high set in 2005. 

Mr. Penn previously served as the Assistant Administrator of National Continuity Programs (NCP), from September 2009 to August 2015, where he was responsible for ensuring the Executive Branch of government could function under all conditions. Mr. Penn deployed to Haiti as the DHS task force leader for assistance to the survivors of the 2010 Earthquake and served as FEMA’s Deputy Director of Disaster Operations for Hurricane Sandy in 2011. 

Mr. Penn joined FEMA after retiring from the U.S. Army as a Colonel.  His military career included senior staff positions, leadership of an advisory team in Iraq, and brigade and battalion commands.

Mr. Penn’s association with FEMA began in 2004 when he served as the Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO) for Florida.  There he was part of the FEMA emergency response team, responsible for all Department of Defense assets, providing millions of pounds of relief supplies and other forms of support to assist the Florida emergency management effort.  He also served as the DCO the following year in support of Mississippi’s efforts during Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Penn studied at the U.S. Navy War College, earning a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies in 2003.  He also earned a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University in 1993 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in 1981.

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