Captain W. Russell Webster is a leading national authority in homeland security following forty-two years of federal service in the Coast Guard, Transportation Safety Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He retired in July 2015.


Webster spent twenty-six years in the Coast Guard where he coordinated regional operations in the Northeast on 9/11, and served as Incident Commander for both the 1999 JFK, Jr., and Egypt Air 990 accidents.

While serving as Deputy Director for all airports and transportation venues in Massachusetts, occupying the Number Two post at Logan International Airport in Boston, Captain Webster helped develop two new TSA initiatives that eventually evolved into national programs: Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique (behavior detection) and the use of TSA screeners at other transportation venues sites, such as rail stations.

In 2008, Webster was selected as New England’s first-ever FEMA Federal Preparedness Coordinator. In this role, he implemented national programs to assist elementary school students to prepare themselves and their families for all sorts of disasters. Webster also initiated a nationally-recognized FEMA interface between the federal agency and over 200 Northeast colleges and universities as well as a unique agreement with the American Red Cross for shared preparedness efforts. He also coordinated FEMA Region 1’s initial responses to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.  The International Association of Emergency Managers designated him a Certified Emergency Manager in 2012.

Webster is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, and holds master’s degrees from both the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval War College.  The Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Foundation for Coast Guard History recognized Webster in 2012 for his 30 year commitment to service history.

Captain Webster resides in Maine with his wife, Elizabeth, where he continues to consult on homeland security matters, write articles and books in military and maritime history, and lecture before listening audiences in military, civic and educational circles.

I am available for speaking engagements before listening audiences, and I value the opportunity to share in-depth information about the tragic sinking of the Sol e Mar. If there’s anything I can answer for you about the content of the lecture, do not hesitate to contact me.