DHS Names Officials for 2006 Storm Season

Published: April 26, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced April 26 the unprecedented predesignation of five teams that will coordinate the federal government’s role in support of state and local governments in preparing for and responding to major natural disasters this storm season. In total, 27 federal officials have been appointed, each with unique expertise and considerable experience.

“Designating these teams now will give state and local officials a chance to plan, train, and exercise with their federal counterparts before a disaster strikes,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “It is imperative that officials at all levels of government, and able bodied citizens alike, understand emergency management roles and individual responsibilities going into this storm season.”

Primary responsibility for disaster response has always been at the local level. The department appointed the following individuals as Principal Federal Officials (PFO), Deputy Principal Federal Officials (DPFO) and Federal Coordinating Officers (FCO) to facilitate federal support of state and local governments:

Gulf Coast Region:

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  • PFO: Gil H. Jamieson, FEMA Deputy Director for Gulf Coast Recovery
  • DPFO: Captain Thomas F. Atkin, Special Assistant to the Coast Guard Chief of Staff
  • FCO: Nick Russo, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer

* Includes: Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana


  • PFO: Rear Admiral Joseph L. Nimmich, Assistant Commandant for Policy and Planning,  U.S. Coast Guard
  • DPFO: Mary Lynne Miller, FEMA Region IV Deputy Director
  • FCO: Justo Hernandez, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer

Northeast Region:

  • PFO: Rear Admiral David P. Pekoske, First District Commander, U.S. Coast Guard
  • DPFO: Joseph Picciano, FEMA Region II Deputy Director
  • FCO: Phil Parr, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer

* Includes: New York: New Jersey; New England; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Mid-Atlantic Region:

  • PFO: Rear Admiral John P. Currier, Assistant Commandant for Acquisition, U.S. Coast Guard
  • DPFO: Richard Hainje, FEMA Region VII Director
  • FCO: Tom Davies, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer

* Includes: Georgia; South Carolina; North Carolina; Virginia; Washington, DC; Maryland; Delaware; and Rhode Island


  • PFO: Rear Admiral Timothy S. Sullivan, Senior Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard
  • DPFO: Bill Peterson, FEMA Region VI Director
  • FCO: Sandy Coachman, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer

The following FEMA FCO’s have also been predesignated to support the lead FCO in their region, in the event that a storm impacts more than a single state:

  • Alabama, Ron Sherman
  • Delaware, Lou Botta
  • District of Columbia, Tom Davies
  • Georgia, Mike Karl
  • Louisiana, Lee Champagne
  • Maryland, Bill Lokey
  • Mississippi, Jesse Munoz
  • New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Peter Martinasco
  • New York and Puerto Rico, Marianne Jackson
  • North Carolina, Mike Bolch
  • Pennsylvania, Carlos Mitchell
  • South Carolina, Libby Turner
  • Virginia, Tom Costello

PFOs and DPFOs serve as the secretary’s representative on the ground and primary point of contact for state and local officials within their area of authority. They are responsible for coordinating overall federal activities relevant to an Incident of National Significance and for providing situational awareness.  All declared emergencies and disasters by the President under the Stafford Act are Incidents of National Significance.  FCOs manage and coordinate federal resource activities related to the Stafford Act.

Local governments are traditionally responsible for providing for the safety and security of citizens in advance of a hurricane, including developing emergency plans, determining evacuation routes, providing public transportation for those who are unable to self-evacuate, and setting up and stocking local shelters with relief supplies.

State governments are traditionally responsible for mobilizing the National Guard, pre-positioning certain assets and supplies, and setting up the state’s emergency management functions. States are also in charge of requests for federal support though the formal disaster declaration process.

When requested, the federal government is responsible for responding to disaster declarations, both during the event and in its aftermath.  This can include logistical support for search and rescue, providing food, water and ice, establishing disaster centers and processing federal disaster claims, and participating in short and long-term public works projects, such as debris removal and infrastructure rebuilding.

DHS also reminds the public of the importance of personal preparedness, including having adequate supplies on hand, developing family communications plans and listening to evacuation orders from local authorities. Learn more about personal preparedness at www.ready.gov.

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