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Richard "Rich" M. Chávez

Director, Office of Operations Coordination and Planning

Mr. Chávez is a career Senior Executive at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  As the Director of the Office of Operations Coordination (OPS), he provides counsel to the Secretary of Homeland Security on operational issues and leads the DHS Continuity of Operations and Government (COOP/COG) Programs.  He leads a directorate of Senior Executive Service and federal employees who provide operations coordination, information sharing, situational awareness, and the DHS common operating picture to the homeland security enterprise - Federal interagency; Governors; Homeland Security Advisors; federal, state, and local law enforcement; private sector; and critical infrastructure partners.

Mr. Chávez has 36 years of Federal Government experience having held command and senior leadership positions in the Air Force, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and DHS.  While in the office of the Secretary of Defense, he provided oversight of policies and capabilities for the provision of support to host nations and Federal partners for natural and manmade disasters and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents.  He was responsible for leading the Department of Defense’s support to federal, state, and local partners in response to disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the largest, most comprehensive, and extensive civil support mission ever.

Mr. Chávez was selected by the Secretary of Homeland Security to be the Director of OPS in 2011.  During his tenure, OPS facilitated efforts to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from domestic events to include: the Deepwater Horizon spill, Hurricanes Sandy and Harvey, the Unaccompanied Alien Children surge, and the Boston Marathon bombing.  He provides oversight of the Federal Government’s Special Events Program which provides federal support to augment state and local law enforcement at high-profile events like the Super Bowl, professional and collegiate sporting events, marathons, and Independence and New Year’s Day celebrations in major metropolitan areas.

As the DHS Continuity Coordinator, he leads the Department’s development of Continuity policy and plans for leadership succession, security, transportation, communications, personnel, and facilities.  During activation of COOP/COG and Enduring Constitutional Government plans, he provides the Secretary with status of resources and the Department’s readiness to perform its Primary Mission Essential Functions.

His major awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star with bronze oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leafs clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.

Mr. Chávez holds a Bachelor of Science Professional degree in Corrections and Law Enforcement from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.  He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California, and a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.  He is a graduate of Harvard University’s, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Crisis Management: Exercising Leadership in Extraordinary Times.

Last Updated: 11/15/2021
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