Dr. David J. Alexander has spent his entire career working with the First Responders, emergency management, and law enforcement communities to utilize advanced technologies to strengthen our ability to protect the homeland, respond to disasters and develop our economic and community resiliency. He has been a national advocate for growing a culture of preparedness across disciplines – “train like you fight, fight like you train, correct what doesn’t work.”
Dr. Alexander assumed the role of S&T Chief Geospatial Scientist and lead for the National Flood APEX program within the First Responders Group in October 2016. In his current assignment at DHS S&T, he is leading innovative research on natural hazards including the Flood Apex program in support of FEMA. This program is applying new and emergency technologies to improve flood detection, monitoring, risk reduction, and flood protection across the US.
Prior to this role, Dr. Alexander served as the first appointed Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) for DHS. He has worked in a senior leadership capacity within the DHS since 2008. During his tenure at DHS, he served Deputy Chief for FEMA Enterprise Geospatial Services, DHS Chief Geospatial Architect, and Program Manager for the DHS Common Operating Committee. As the GIO and director of the DHS Geospatial Management Office (GMO), Dr. Alexander negotiated more than $200 million in acquisitions for geospatial information and technology services, producing more than $130 million in cost savings for the department. He led the standup of the DHS Geospatial Information Infrastructure, the Homeland Security Geospatial Concept of Operations, the DHS Common Operating Picture (COP), and the National Geospatial Preparedness Summit. Dr. Alexander also served as the DHS representative to the Federal Geographic Data Committee, co-champion for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, chair of the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation Level Data Subcommittee, and chair of the DHS COP Executive Steering Committee. Under his leadership, the GMO and staff received numerous awards and became nationally recognized for their collaborative work and innovation.
Before coming to DHS, Dr. Alexander acquired practical experience across the local, state, federal, and private sectors. This experience includes assisting Secretary Tommy Thompson in setting up the Health and Human Services Secretary’s Operations Center and response technologies team, assisting the Department of Labor’s implementation of the national CareeOneStop Service Locator System supported under grant to the State of Minnesota, and serving as the Chief of Digital Cartography for the State of South Carolina providing geospatial leadership to support statewide public safety and emergency management activities. While at South Carolina, Dr. Alexander administered the Statewide programs for E-911, Legislative redistricting, and health and demographic mapping programs.
Dr. Alexander holds a doctor of philosophy from George Mason University. His dissertation research involved analyzing the relationships between hazard vulnerability science and disaster management policy and practice: a case study of Atlantic hurricanes. He also holds a Master’s degree in business management from Colorado Technical University, a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) in History from the University of South Carolina – Aiken.
Dr. Alexander currently serves as a member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) and as an advisory member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.
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