Chris Essid

  • Senior Advisor, Cybersecurity
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Chris Essid currently serves as the Central Sector Emergency Communications Chief for CISA leading emergency communication programs, services, and operations for 23 states. Chris first joined DHS in 2007, standing up the Office of Emergency Communications as the Director and serving as a member of the Senior Executive Service. Chris focused on building partnerships between public safety agencies and industry to improve communication capabilities nationwide. He led efforts to develop the first National Emergency Communications Plan, stood up the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center and developed the first National Communications Capabilities Report. Chris championed the establishment of statewide communication interoperability plans and inclusive governance structures in all 56 States and Territories. He served as the co-chair for the Canada United States Communications Interoperability Working Group, supporting the President’s Beyond the Border bilateral effort to increase communications along Canadian border. He helped establish the Southwest Border Communications Working Group, the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators and testified before Congress to provide updates on public safety interoperable communications nationwide.
Before joining DHS, Chris served as the nation’s first Statewide Interoperability Coordinator under Virginia Governor’s Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Chris led efforts to increase communication preparedness and response capabilities for public safety and the emergency response community. He developed Virginia’s Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan and established one of the nation’s first statewide governance structures. This stakeholder driven effort became a best practice nationwide and today every state has governance structures and statewide communication interoperability plans based upon the work piloted in Virginia. Chris served as a member of the SAFECOM Emergency Response Council, Commonwealth Preparedness Working Group, National Capital Region Programmatic Working Group for Interoperability and served as Chair for the All-Hazards Consortium Interoperability Working Group.
Chris received a Special Recognition Award by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International and received the Chairman’s Award from the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council for his work to improve public safety communications nationwide.
Prior to working in the communications sector, Chris served as a member of the law enforcement community in the United States Army Military Police. Chris is a Harvard Senior Executive Fellow, a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute, and holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky.