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Dr. Robert Griffin assumed the role of Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on January 20, 2017. He had previously served as the Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology since May 12, 2014. Prior to that, he was the Director of the Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group. He is a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service and the recipient of the 2016 Presidential Rank Award, Distinguished.
Griffin came to DHS after a 20-year career in local government as a senior leader and first responder. He served as the Director of Environmental Services for Arlington County, Virginia, where he managed a diverse portfolio of core governmental functions, including roads and engineering, transportation, facilities construction and maintenance, fleet management, capital planning and construction, and a nationally recognized energy and environmental sustainability program.
Appointed as the first director of the Arlington County Office of Emergency Management, in Arlington, Virginia, Griffin developed a cross-functional department consisting of emergency management, law enforcement, fire/rescue, public health, and emergency communications personnel. In this capacity, he managed the integration of the county’s emergency management and emergency communications functions into a single department. Programs of note include construction of a state-of-the-art emergency communications and data analysis center; an integrated public notification system, including outdoor warning systems and enhanced sheltering capabilities for people and pets; and a nationally recognized citizen outreach effort. While in Arlington, he organized and led relief efforts to Florida (2004), New Orleans (2005), and numerous regional and intra-state deployments.
Prior to his time in Arlington, Griffin served as the Assistant County Administrator and Chief of Fire and Rescue in Loudoun County, Virginia, where he directed the county’s fire, rescue, bomb squad, emergency communications, and emergency management functions. In 2001, he led the Loudoun County Emergency Operations Center’s response to the September 11-attack on the Pentagon, as well as the anthrax attack on the Dulles Postal Facility. He was also formerly the Executive Administrator of Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, and Town Administrator of Townsend, Massachusetts. He is a certified firefighter and fire officer.
Griffin earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in public administration/public affairs from Virginia Tech, as well as a master's degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His dissertation was a study of the characteristics of coordination in the homeland security network.
He is on the faculty of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute where he teaches graduate level courses in state and local governance.