Deanne Criswell sworn in as FEMA’s 12th administrator
On April 27, 2021, United States Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas swore in Deanne Bennett Criswell as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 12th administrator, the first woman confirmed to serve in this role since its creation in 1979.
Administrator Criswell took the oath after receiving unanimous support from the U.S. Senate. As administrator, she is tasked with reducing the loss of life and property, protecting the nation from all hazards, and leading the nation through a comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery and mitigation.
She joins FEMA at a critical juncture as the agency continues to coordinate COVID-19 vaccination efforts, support the department in its humanitarian efforts at the southern border and prepare for future disasters like the upcoming hurricane season.
“Deanne’s career is one of commitment and service to our nation,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “That commitment now rises to the next level of leading the dedicated people of FEMA as they continue working to meet unprecedented challenges. I have full confidence in her ability to lead FEMA with compassion, fairness, integrity and respect as she works to fulfill the agency’s ever-important mission: helping people before, during and after disasters. It is my honor to welcome Administrator Criswell to the Department of Homeland Security.”
With more than 25 years of leadership experience in emergency management, including serving as the commissioner for New York City Emergency Management, as a member of the Colorado Air National Guard and deployed to numerous disaster assignments with FEMA, she also worked as a local firefighter and managed the Aurora, Colo., office of emergency management.
“I believe the best way to balance the competing demands is to make risk reduction investments to build more resilient communities and infrastructure, including against the threat of climate change,” Criswell said during her confirmation hearing. “As an emergency manager, I have always focused on keeping families and communities safe. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to help the people of this country.”