As the Chief of Operational Planning, Mr. Cuartas manages deliberate catastrophic planning and the Regional Hurricane Program for Region II. Mr. Cuartas is also a member of FEMA’s Field Leadership Apprenticeship Program (Federal Coordinating Officer option) Pilot Cohort. Mr. Cuartas has held leadership positions in multiple Presidentially-declared disasters and national and international crisis operations including Branch Director during the response to Hurricane Maria and Infrastructure Directorate Deputy Director responsible for leading Federal infrastructure recovery operations in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Mr. Cuartas served as the Region II Exercise Director for the 2017 National Level Exercise Gotham Shield. Prior to joining FEMA Region II, Mr. Cuartas served as the Chief of Operational Planning for FEMA Region III where he managed catastrophic planning including Improvised Nuclear Device Response Plans for the National Capitol Region and Philadelphia, chaired the Consequence Management Subcommittees for multiple National Special Security Events (NSSE) occurring in the Region to include the World Meeting of Families-Papal Visit, and oversaw the Regional Emergency Communications Program, Regional Geospatial Information Systems Program, and Regional Hurricane Program.
Mr. Cuartas served nine years in the US Army, including two combat tours in Iraq totaling 29 months of combat operations conducting Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) operations. He served as a Combat Engineer and Explosives Ordnance Clearance Agent with the 111th Sapper Company, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and Technical Rescue Operations/Planning Section Chief for the 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company, Military District of Washington. Following his military service, Mr. Cuartas took on the role of Emergency Preparedness Program Manager for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Mr. Cuartas then transitioned into the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Operations Coordination serving as a senior continuity policy analyst drafting multiple Department-wide policies and plans. Mr. Cuartas joined FEMA in 2013 as the Regional Continuity Manager where he worked with multiple States and Federal Departments and Agencies to develop plans and policies, execute continuity exercises, and served as course manager and instructor for FEMA emergency management and continuity courses within the Region and at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute.
Mr. Cuartas holds an Executive Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management from Georgetown University, Bachelor of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management, is a graduate of FEMA’s Emergency Management Academy and Master Continuity Practitioner Level II, was awarded the FEMA Administrator’s Award for Excellence in Emergency Management and holds numerous certifications in the fields of emergency management, continuity, technical rescue and fire services.