Chris Essid, Central Sector Chief, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
Chris Essid joined DHS in 2007, standing up the Office of Emergency Communications as the first Director. He focused on building partnerships between local, state and federal public safety agencies to improve communication capabilities nationwide. He championed increased grant funding to support public safety to Congress and was successful in establishing the Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program. Chris also led the development of the first National Emergency Communications Plan, established the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center and developed the first National Communications Capabilities Report. In addition, he championed the establishment of statewide communication plans and inclusive governance structures nationwide. He currently manages programs and services to support local and state partners on behalf of CISA. Before joining DHS, Chris served under Virginia Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. He led efforts to increase communications preparedness and response capabilities for public safety and to increase coordination across all critical infrastructure. He developed Virginia’s Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan and established one of the nation’s first statewide governance structures comprised of local, State, fire, law enforcement and emergency management stakeholders. This stakeholder driven effort became a best practice nationwide. Today, all states have governance structures and statewide communications plans based upon the work championed in Virginia. Chris served as a member of the SAFECOM Emergency Response Council to share best practices and lessons learned with national public safety associations to support increased emergency communications capabilities nationwide.