The Planning Division provides strategic planning, geographic information system management, as well as intelligence and information sharing for VDEM. Planning provides a methodical approach to engage the whole community through the lifecycle of emergency and disaster preparedness. It helps determine required capabilities; identify gaps in capabilities; and establishes a framework for operationalizing roles and responsibilities to all hazards protection, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation activities. The division includes a Strategic Planning Branch, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Unit, and a Critical Infrastructure Branch with analysts working in the Virginia Fusion Center.

Strategic Planning Branch

The Strategic Planning Branch (SPB) coordinates comprehensive emergency management planning within the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). The SPB utilizes emergency management planning principles, including the development of a collaborative planning team, to accomplish the following.

The primary focus of the SPB is state-level emergency management planning aligned with the agency mission and long-term goals throughout the preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation cycle.

The SPB supports local and regional emergency management planning initiatives through collaboration with the regional VDEM planners, as appropriate.

The Geographic Information Systems Unit

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) unit of the Planning Division supports steady state and disaster operations with geographic information system products for situational awareness, response operations, grants projects distribution, and recovery efforts for individual assistance. The GIS unit uses geospatial technology to collect, manage, analyze, and display information geospatially to provide a visual under- standing of data. This GIS data provides VDEM, the VEST, state agency partners, and the public with real-time information using dynamically updated applications that identify operational readiness, resource status, and deployment of personnel; perform forecasting; and make data-driven decisions for the more effective management of disasters and events. Specific products provided by GIS include:

  1. Know Your Zone Evacuation state routes
  2. Visualization of flood-prone geographies
  3. Operational dashboards for response and recovery data
  4. Geographic distribution of disaster assistance
  5. Location and density of vulnerable populations and
  6. Daily tracking of VDEM-engaged incidents to include hazardous materials, medical flights, and search and rescue missions

The Virginia Fusion Center

The Planning Division also supports the Virginia Fusion Center (VFC), which is the state’s multi-disciplinary Intelligence Center. The VFC is a collaborative effort between the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. It was created to provide operational and strategic counter terrorism/criminal information and intelligence to law enforcement, military, public safety, governmental, and private sector decision-makers, as well as to the public. VDEM provides personnel to the VFC who assist with intelligence gathering and product development on existing and emerging threats that may affect prevention, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts before, during, and after events and emergencies. More information on the VFC can be found at:

The Critical Infrastructure Branch

The Critical Infrastructure Branch (CIB) works with both public and private sector partners to develop a comprehensive program through collaborative partnerships that address the security and resilience of critical infrastructure in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This branch works to ascertain risk by identifying threats, assessing vulnerabilities, and determining critical infrastructure consequences to enhance preparedness through protection, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts. As part of this effort, the branch manages the State Critical Infrastructure Working Group and serves as co-chair on the National Capital Region Critical Infrastructure Working group.

CIB is responsible for all Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Preparedness data calls to include the State and Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Risk Profile review, Critical Infrastructure nominations, Special Events Data Call, and others. The branch chief serves as the IP Gateway Administrator and the Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) Officer for the Commonwealth.




Thomas Berry

Planning Division Director


VDEM Planning Division