Tony Russell is currently serving in the role of Acting Assistant Administrator of the National Preparedness Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he is responsible for delivering education, training and exercises to build a culture of preparedness in the United States.
In his prior position as the Superintendent at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Ala., Mr. Russell provided executive level management and leadership for the CDP as it provides unique, hands on training to more than 45,000 emergency responders a year from state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies. He was also responsible for operations of the CDP’s 176-acre campus, which is home to the only training facility in the country where civilian responders can train in a toxic agent environment and the Nation’s only hospital training facility dedicated solely to preparing the healthcare, public health, and environmental health communities for mass casualty events related to terrorism or natural disasters.
The CDP is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Preparedness Directorate and offers 51 courses for both resident and non-resident students. Courses at the CDP campus in Anniston, Ala. feature hands-on training at the Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological (COBRA) Training Facility, where responders train using nerve agents GB (Sarin) and VX, as well as non-pathogenic strains of anthrax and ricin. The Noble Training Facility is a former Army hospital that is now a premier training venue for health and medical professionals preparing for mass casualty incidents.
Mr. Russell previously served as the Superintendent of the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). During his tenure at EMI, he was deployed and detailed in support of critical agency priorities. First to New York in 2012, Mr. Russell assisted the Superstorm Sandy response and recovery activities. Then, in 2014, he was designated as the Acting Region VIII Administrator, serving as the Senior Executive for all FEMA priorities and requirements in the States of Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah.
In 2009, Mr. Russell was appointed by the President as the FEMA Region VI Regional Administrator and served in that capacity until 2012. In this role, he was responsible for all FEMA operational decisions and policy implementation within the States of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
During 2003 and 2009, Mr. Russell served as a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for Region VIII. In addition to his FCO duties, in 2009, he assumed the role of Acting Director of the FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike, with offices throughout the State, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans. As an FCO, he managed FEMA operations in many complex disaster response and recovery operations across the country. He led disaster operations nationwide to include Alabama, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico, just to name a few. He also assumed executive leadership roles for potential hurricanes in Texas, the Pandemic Influenza Regional Team, and the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.
Mr. Russell, a former United States Marine Corps Officer, holds an undergraduate degree in political science and management from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He earned two master’s degrees from National University in San Diego, California, in the areas of business administration (MBA) and management (MA). He also received a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, and completed Executive Leadership Education at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Mr. Russell is an active member of the emergency management community, including the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and he holds the designation of Certified Emergency Manager (CEM).