New York City Department Of Veterans' Services Organizes "Fleet Week Senior Leadership Seminar" With Us Navy And City Agencies

This half-day training and educational symposium brings together leadership from military, local, state, federal and not-for-profit organizations to share best practices on disaster relief response & humanitarian assistance

May 22, 2018

New York – The New York City Department of Veterans’ Services and the Center for Humanitarian Assistance (the Center) gathered together leadership from organizations at the city, state, federal levels, the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and key not-for-profit agencies to take part in a half-long training symposium aimed at better coordinating humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response.

The “Fleet Week Senior Leadership Seminar” (SLS) began during San Francisco’s Fleet Week in 2010 as a means to further cement the working relationships between the military and local emergency response agencies. This culminated into the formation of Fleet Week’s Center for Humanitarian Assistance, which developed a series of seminars, exercises, and exchange programs meant to better prepare the region’s disaster response capabilities. The Senior Leadership Seminar, now in its ninth year, is now part of all West Coast Fleet Weeks. Today marks the first time the SLS is held in New York City.

New York City is proud to launch its inaugural Senior Leadership Seminar during Fleet Week 2018 and hopes to continue this important partnership building event in the years to come. By focusing on how disaster response efforts adapt to topics such as climate change, new technologies, cybersecurity threats -- as well as the important roles of military personnel, civilian emergency responders, and veterans – the SLS creates opportunities to share best practices and lessons learned as well as the chance to forge essential relationships between leadership of partner agencies and organizations.

“Partnerships are critical to the success of any disaster or humanitarian response,” said New York City Department of Veterans’ Services Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General (ret.), US Army. “The Fleet Week Senior Leadership Seminar represents a rare and invaluable opportunity for those responsible for relief efforts to connect and explore best practices. This event will greatly strengthen the ability of local, state, and federal agencies and organizations to collaborate in their response to future disasters and humanitarian crises.”

“The Center is proud to bring its humanitarian assistance program to New York,” said Center for Humanitarian Assistance Executive Director Lewis Loeven. “By capitalizing on the presence of military leadership during New York Fleet Week, the inaugural New York Senior Leaders Seminar allows us to set a foundation for building a dynamic value added program for future Fleet Weeks. By building relationships and discussing best practices in joint civilian/military humanitarian assistance missions we can use gatherings such as Fleet Week to better prepare our nation to respond when needed. The opportunity also allows us to engage with our nation’s veteran communities ensuring resiliency and opportunities for those who have served.”

“City, state and federal agencies work together during large emergencies, and it is critical for all partners to understand the roles and capabilities of responding organizations,” said Joseph Esposito, Commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department. “Training opportunities like the Fleet Week Senior Leadership Seminar allow us to connect with key partners and discuss emergency response and recovery operations so that all of our resources can be used effectively to help New Yorkers before, during, and after a disaster.”

“FDNY and the United States Armed Forces have a strong bond, built on the service of more than 1,200 veterans in the Department, and the fact that often, the men and women of the military have trained alongside FDNY members at our training academy,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “This Senior Leadership Seminar is a welcome addition to this year’s Fleet Week celebration, and the perfect opportunity to further strengthen those bonds and improve all of our abilities to respond to disasters together and provide humanitarian relief when called.”

Tom Von Essen, FEMA Regional Administrator remarked, “We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Fleet Week Senior Leadership Seminar and to continue our ongoing collaboration with local and federal partners as we help people before, during and after disasters. This coordination is essential to our individual and collective success in carrying out our important missions.”

“The partnerships we develop locally, nationally, and internationally are incredibly important when faced with emergency response situations like hurricanes, maritime threats, and off-shore search and rescue cases,” said Rear Admiral Steven Poulin, First Coast Guard District Commander.

United States Marines Captain Matt Nolty said, "This Senior Leadership Seminar is a critical opportunity to meet with and better understand city, county, and state authorities and their respective emergency responders. It is all about relationships and you never want to first meet fellow responders or figure out how things work during an actual disaster. Having a better understanding of civilian agency personnel and capabilities helps the DOD prepare for the next major event where we might have to play a part. The NYC DSCA Senior Leadership Seminar, linked to New York City Fleet Week, as a perfect opportunity to build capabilities, relationships, and educate one other so that we are best prepared and coordinated to save lives, prevent human suffering, and mitigate property damage should we be required during the next major disaster."

“One of the most critical components to an emergency plan is to cultivate key relationships with a cross-functional team before an event happens. Plans and processes, as well as ongoing communications are also essential. I witnessed firsthand during the terrorist attacks of September 11th, New York City’s ability to respond and recover in an exceptional way to an unprecedented event – many lessons were learned coming out of that experience and the City has only gotten better,” said Maureen Casey, Chief Operating Officer of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. “The Military has a saying – ‘No plan survives first contact with the enemy. What matters is how quickly the leader is able to adapt.’ No plan, no matter how often detailed or practiced will go off without a change, but if you have built the relationships before the event, and have the ability to communicate as events unfold, you will be able to adapt and overcome. Meetings such as this Senior Leadership Seminar are pivotal to strengthening key relationships in the spirit of planning and preparation.”

U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hamilton Colonel Peter Sicoli, Garrison Commander, said, “I am proud to represent the US Army at New York City's inaugural Senior Leadership Seminar. This venue will be an excellent opportunity to share best practices on disaster relief & humanitarian assistance. The distinguished guests in attendance have experience leading and executing these missions and their insights and experiences are going to make for outstanding discussions. This symposium will also be a great opportunity to build relationships that will serve us for many years to come.”

"The Fleet Week Senior Leadership Seminar is a great add to the Fleet Week NYC 2018 line-up," said Jake Wood, co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon. "By exploring best practices and sharing lessons learned, this seminar will strengthen relationships between military, local response organizations and non-profits that are responsible for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. This kind of collaboration will better prepare all of us to effectively respond to disasters and help people on their worst day." 

About Fleet Week
Fleet Week is a week-long celebration dedicated to honoring the sea services, including the men and women of the United States Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard. This tradition was first held in New York City in 1984 and has been observed nearly every year since. This festive time gives New Yorkers and those in the tri-state area opportunities to meet some of the over 2,000 Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen and women who visit the city, as well as the chance to visit firsthand 14 maritime vessels stationed at 6 ports through the New York City waterways for the week. For more information on Fleet Week visit

About the Center for Humanitarian Assistance
The San Francisco-based Center for Humanitarian Assistance (the Center) is part of the not-for profit San Francisco Fleet Week Association. Since 2010, the Center has carried out its mission to forge a network of partnerships between the military, civilian governments, and private sector industry through its Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response Program (HADR Program). The HADR Program provides a platform for joint civilian/military training, exercise and education programs addressing the regional, national, and international need to prepare for response to catastrophic events and humanitarian crises.

About the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services
The New York City’s Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) strives to improve the lives of all veterans and their families, regardless of discharge status. DVS operated as a centralized hub able to put veterans at the center of all our efforts, coordinating services with a range of agencies at the City, state, and federal level, as well as through public-private partnerships. 
Our mission is straightforward: to foster purpose-driven lives for NYC service members, veterans, and their families through: effective connections with the NYC community; targeted advocacy at the local, state, and national level; compassionate service, ensuring we make it easier to access services and benefits they’ve earned. We believe veterans are civic assets whose strength and demonstrated commitment to public service help NYC thrive.
For more information on the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services, please visit our website at, visit us at 1 Centre Street, Suite 2208, New York, NY, call 212-416-5250, or follow us on social media @nycveterans.