New head of Iowa Homeland Security/Emergency Management

Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge served as the Culver/Judge Administration’s point person on homeland security issues.   During Governor-elect Terry Branstad’s previous tenure, Ellen Gordon served as administrator of the state’s Emergency Management Division.  Former Governor Tom Vilsack kept Gordon in place.  When Gordon (sort of) retired from state government in 2004, Vilsack appointed David Miller to the post and Governor Chet Culver kept Miller in his administration. (Gordon is doing consulting work and teaching now.  Gordon’s currently the associate director of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. )

Branstad today announced he’s chosen a military man to serve in the role of homeland security advisor to the governor as well as in the role of director of the state’s emergency management division.  Details below.

Branstad names Brig. Gen. J. Derek Hill to head Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management

(URBANDALE) – Gov.-elect Terry Branstad announced today that Brig. Gen. J. Derek Hill of the Iowa Air National Guard will serve as the Homeland Security Advisor to the Governor and head of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the Branstad/Reynolds administration.

“Brigadier General Hill’s service to Iowa and our country is to be commended,” said Branstad. “His leadership of the Iowa National Guard’s Joint Staff during the floods and tornadoes of 2008 was exceptional, and I am confident this leadership and management will continue in Brig. Gen. Hill’s new endeavor.”

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management has worked to protect Iowans and prepare them for disasters since its inception as the State Civil Defense Agency in 1965. Today, the department coordinates local, state, and federal recovery efforts in the case of natural and human-caused disasters.

“I am honored to have Governor Branstad’s confidence as I transition into a new role serving Iowans,” said Hill. “I will work every day to ensure that the state is ready, capable, and equipped to assist local, state, and federal officials should an emergency arise.”

Hill currently serves as the Iowa Air National Guard’s Assistant Adjutant General for Strategic Development.  He previously served as Chief of Staff/Director of Staff.  The Iowa Air National Guard has 800 full time and 2,000 part time employees.   Hill has also served as Chief of the Joint Staff for the Iowa National Guard, including during the tornadoes and floods of 2008.  The Joint Staff is responsible for the Iowa National Guard’s response to disasters and emergencies.

Hill’s awards and decorations include: the Meritorious Service Medal (six awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal with service star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award (five awards), and Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver hourglass (more than 20 years of service).
A native of Childersburg, Ala., Hill received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of South Alabama and earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Ala. He also attended the University of Florida Graduate Tax School and is a graduate of U.S Air Force Squadron Officer School, Air War College, and Joint and Combined Warfighting School.

Hill and his wife, Rhonda, reside in Clive.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.