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FEMA Administrator Visits USNA Classes

  POSTED ON: Friday, April 8, 2022 10:39 AM by MC3 Thomas Bonaparte Jr.

The U.S. Naval Academy’s Political Science Department welcomed Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell as a guest lecturer on April 4, 2022.  Criswell spoke to students of the Politics of Homeland Security course about her career in emergency management and her vision for FEMA.  

Criswell is the 12th FEMA Administrator and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on April 22, 2021, as the first woman to hold the position. Her visit was organized by Professor Brian Kamoie, a senior executive with FEMA, currently serving as the Department of Homeland Security Distinguished Chair of Leadership in the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership. 

As the FEMA Administrator, Criswell leads more than 20,000 FEMA employees in making the nation safer, stronger, and more prepared for disasters. She has experience leading at all levels of government and the private sector, as well as 21 years of service with the Colorado Air National Guard. Prior to her appointment, she served as the commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department where she led the department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Emergency Managers are increasingly called upon to solve tough problems, often with limited information, tight timelines, and in stressful environments,” said Criswell, addressing the challenges of the position. “But when we have our U.S. military partners working alongside us, we have skilled leaders and committed countrymen and women helping lead the way.”

The U.S. military plays a vital role in domestic disaster response through Defense Support of Civil Authorities. The Politics of Homeland Security course explores the evolution of homeland security in the United States and requires each student to conduct in-depth research into a current challenge.  During two sessions, Criswell spoke to students about her first year at the agency and responded to student questions ranging from natural disasters to lessons on leadership. 

“It was an amazing opportunity for midshipmen to discuss their research directly with the nation’s top emergency manager,” said Navy Capt. David Ostwind, who teaches the class with Kamoie.

In between classes, Criswell observed noon meal formation and was hosted in King Hall for lunch by Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Benjamin Sell and members of the 6th Company.  

Closing out her visit, Criswell praised the students for their interest in homeland security and their commitment to service.

As the undergraduate college of our country's naval service, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. For more information about the Naval Academy, please see or our Facebook page at

Category: General Interest, Academics, Research, People, Press Releases, Midshipman