Rear Admiral Meredith Austin is the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Incident Command and Control within the Office of the Assistant Secretary Preparedness and Response (ASPR). In this role, she serves as principal advisor to the ASPR on all matters pertaining to the department’s incident command and control structure to augment the Department’s public health emergency preparedness and response and recovery activities, programs, and policies. RADM Austin provides strategic oversight to ASPR with an emphasis on enhancing ASPR’s strategies, policies, plans, and requirements relating to public health and medical emergencies, advancing security and intelligence efforts, and ensuring emergency response operation requirements including information management, and operational data analysis are met. RADM Austin also oversees the leadership team managing the Department’s Continuity of Operations Program (COOP), Critical Infrastructure Program (CIP), and the HHS Secretary’s Operations Center (SOC) which runs 24/7/365. In addition, RADM Austin currently serves as the ASPR Deputy Director of the Joint Coordination Cell (JCC). The JCC fulfills a temporary emergency response role by fostering intra-HHS unity of effort and by harmonizing activities of Federal departments, agencies and work groups to advance the National COVID strategy.
Prior to her assignment to HHS in February 2020, RADM Austin was the Coast Guard Deputy for Operations, Policy and Capabilities. In this capacity, she was responsible for establishing and providing operational strategy, policy, capability and resources to meet national priorities for U.S. Coast Guard missions, programs and services.
Rear Admiral Austin has held several commands including Fifth District Commander, responsible for maritime safety and security missions carried out in the Mid-Atlantic region; Sector Delaware Bay, executing the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions along the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania; the Pacific Strike Team and the National Strike Force, responding to oil and hazardous substance spills and threats from Weapons of Mass Destruction in support of Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense On-Scene Coordinators throughout the United States, its territories, and other nations.
Rear Admiral Austin is a 1985 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy with a degree in Marine Science. She earned a Master of Science in Public Health in Industrial Hygiene from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1994 and a Master of Arts in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California in 2007. Rear Admiral Austin is a NIMS certified Type I Incident Commander, and has earned the designations of Certified Industrial Hygienist and Certified Emergency Manager.