Emergency Management in California

Reflections by Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

CAL OES Director Mark Gilarducci address CAL OES staff during a 2022 all staff meeting

Director Mark Ghilarducci (right) addresses Cal OES personnel during an April 2022 all staff meeting

Photo by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

Event Details

Wednesday, November 2, 2022
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Eastern
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Pacific

This event will be conducted virtually, and is open to the public.

Connection Details


To connect by telephone:

+1 669 254 5252 (San Jose)
+1 646 828 7666 (New York)
Webinar ID: Webinar ID: 160 957 3625

Additional domestic and international numbers

About the Program

In this webinar, Mark Ghilarducci, the Director of California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), will reflect on his more than 30 years of experience and diversified service in public safety and emergency management at the local, state, and federal levels. Director Ghilarducci will discuss how California has addressed the immense challenges it has faced from climate change, COVID-19, and other threats; lessons he has learned from these experiences; and what he anticipates for the future of emergency management.

This event is presented by the Disaster Management & Resilience Program (DMR) of the RAND Homeland Security Research Division (HSRD). HSRD operates the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), which is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) that conducts studies and analysis for federal sponsors. The DMR webinar series was created to increase understanding of how disaster policies can affect the ability of communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.


Mark Ghilarducci

Mark Ghilarducci

Director, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES)

Mark Ghilarducci serves as the Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) within the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. Ghilarducci was appointed January 8, 2019 by Governor Newsom to continue his service as Director, following his appointment on July 1, 2013 by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Ghilarducci also previously served as Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency, appointed in February 2012 by Governor Brown. As a member of the Cabinet, Director Ghilarducci serves as the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor and oversees statewide public safety, emergency management, emergency communications, counter-terrorism efforts and the State Threat Assessment System. In 2000, Ghilarducci was appointed Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services where he oversaw statewide emergency operations, planning and training. Ghilarducci also previously served as a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under President William J. Clinton.

Prior to his appointments at Cal OES and FEMA, Director Ghilarducci served as Deputy State Fire Chief at Cal OES, where he oversaw Special Operations, including the State Urban Search & Rescue Response System. He has more than 30 years of experience and diversified service in public safety and government management at the local, state and federal levels and spent over twelve years in the private sector, working in security & crisis management around the world.

In addition to his duties serving as Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Director Ghilarducci is designated by the Governor as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and as Chairman of the California Catastrophic Response Council. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the National Governor’s Association (NGA)-Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Council; the Environmental Information Services Working Group of the Advisory Council to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); the State Board of Fire Services; and the Board of the Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC).

Director Ghilarducci holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Davis and is a graduate of the Fellowship Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

jason barnosky

Jason Thomas Barnosky (moderator)

Senior Political Scientist, The RAND Corporation

Moderator Jason Thomas Barnosky is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and an expert in homeland security and emergency management policy. Prior to joining RAND, Barnosky served as a consultant to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and headed the Washington, D.C. office of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA).

Barnosky worked in the legislative branch for approximately a decade, serving as a senior advisor to the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a senior analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In the Senate, Barnosky led the committee's investigative efforts in a wide variety of areas--such as the law enforcement response in Ferguson, Missouri; the Boston Marathon bombing; Hurricane Sandy; the Gulf Coast oil spill; and FEMA's response to catastrophic disasters. Barnosky also drafted and negotiated legislation and advised the chairman on Presidential nominations. At GAO, Barnosky investigated programs addressing a range of issues--including military disability policy, financial regulatory policy, emergency management, information sharing, risk management, and critical infrastructure protection.

Barnosky was previously a senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security (CCHS) and a nonresident scholar in the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution. Barnosky has published on homeland security policy and written for The American Prospect, The Hill, Polity, the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and the Brookings Institution. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Brown University and his bachelor's degree from New York University.


For questions about the event, contact Evania Baginski at baginski@rand.org