Thompson Takes Over as Head of FEMA Communications
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Thompson Takes Over as Head of FEMA Communications

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Jonathan Thompson, most recently a deputy assistant defense secretary for public affairs, strategy and operations, as its new director of external affairs. He replaces Pat Philbin.

Paul Holmes

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Jonathan Thompson, most recently a deputy assistant defense secretary for public affairs, strategy and operations, as its new director of external affairs. He replaces Pat Philbin, who led the agency’s public relations efforts at the time of a now notorious “fake” press conference during which employees posed as reporters.

Philbin had already accepted a job handling communications the director of national intelligence at the time of the staged news conference. After media reports and the ensuing controversy, however, Philbin did not take up his new position.

Thompson has 20 years of experience executing and supervising corporate and marketing communications programs at the highest levels of U.S. corporations and government agencies. For the last four years, he worked for the Department of Defense, where as deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, strategy and operations he oversaw and coordinated communications planning, development and strategy for the Department’s Iraq and Global War on Terror initiatives. 

Thompson also worked as director of communications and public information for the Transportation Security Administration, where he established the then-new agency’s communications and public affairs program. His background also includes positions as director of communications and external relations for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
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