Captain Russ Webster is a consultant in Crisis Leadership, Homeland Security, and Emergency Management.


W. Russell Webster in front of the USS Constitution

Webster retired from public service in January 2021 following a distinguished 45-year career across three federal agencies. His last assignment was in the Senior Executive Service as FEMA’s Regional Administrator for Region I, which covers six New England states and its population of 15 million people including ten Tribal Nations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he led Region I’s efforts in response, recovery, and long-term health and economic resilience planning and operations.

In a previous FEMA assignment, Webster was New England’s first Federal Preparedness Coordinator and FEMA Region I’s initial Incident Commander for the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing.

Prior to FEMA, Captain Webster served in the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) as Deputy Federal Security Director for all airports and transportation venues in Massachusetts. He co-developed two TSA initiatives that eventually evolved into national programs: Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique behavioral detection, and the use of TSA screeners at other transportation venues sites, such as rail stations.

Before TSA, Captain Webster served for twenty-six years in the Coast Guard. As Commander at Group Woods Hole, then one of the largest search and rescue groups, Captain Webster was Incident Commander for both the 1999 JFK, Jr., and Egypt Air 990 air crashes. In his final mission assignment, Captain Webster served as Chief of Operations (District 1) in the Northeast between Canada and New Jersey. During 9/11, Captain Webster supported all operations in response to the terrorist attack.

Webster is a 1977 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy where he was honored as the 2017 Distinguished Alumni. He holds an M.S. from the Naval Postgraduate School in Systems Technologies, and an M.A. in National Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He has served as an adjunct instructor in Homeland Security at University of New Haven, and in Emergency Management at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The International Association of Emergency Managers designated him a Certified Emergency Manager in 2012, and a Lifetime C.E.M. in 2018.

Webster is an author whose books on Coast Guard-related maritime tragedies reflect his experience as a Search and Rescue field commander. Those publications are: The Pendleton Disaster Off Cape Cod: The Greatest Small Boat Rescue in Coast Guard History; The Tragic Sinking of the Sol-e-Mar Off Martha’s Vineyard; Lost in Charleston’s Waves: The Tragedy of the Sailing Vessel Morning Dew.

 I am available for speaking engagements before listening audiences, and I value the opportunity to share in-depth information about a range of topics related to the the three federal agencies (USCG, TSA, FEMA) and experiences (JFK Jr./Egypt Air 990 air crashes, 9-1-1, Boston Marathon bombing) and my writings. If there’s anything I can answer for you about the content of the lecture, do not hesitate to contact me.