DOD MEDIA RELEASE: Luke Meyers Named State Disaster Management Advisor; James Barros to Become New HI-EMA Administrator

Posted on Jan 17, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU, HI- Luke Meyers is joining the Office of Governor Josh Green, M.D., as the State Disaster Management Advisor (SDMA), with Col. (Ret.) James D.S. Barros named as the new Administrator for the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA).

 Under the general direction of the Governor, the SDMA is the state’s lead coordination point for long-term rebuilding and resiliency efforts following a large or complex disaster.  

“We are excited to have Luke join our team and to continue to serve Hawai‘i as the State Disaster Management Advisor,” said Gov. Green. “He brings immense experience to this new position. When we consider what is occurring around the world within weather systems and changes to our climate, the timing could not be better.” 

State Adjutant General and Director of HI-EMA, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, has worked with Meyers for about five years. Meyers was Executive Officer for HI-EMA from 2018 to 2020 and served as Administrator for the last three years.

“I congratulate Luke on his accession to the Governor’s office and thank him for his leadership at HI-EMA during probably the most challenging disaster in Hawai‘i’s history. He will be extremely valuable, and I look forward to working with him in this new role.”

Meyers began his role as Administrator in March 2020, in the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also focused on setting and meeting high emergency management standards. He led HI-EMA through an international accreditation assessment by Emergency Management Accreditation Program; established a new job classification for emergency management personnel; and aligned all recovery and mitigation efforts for all open federal disaster declarations under a new Resiliency Branch to manage hundreds of millions of dollars in federal assistance.

“The challenges of COVID-19, the increasing natural hazards that we all face as the climate warms, and the need for baseline standards show the vital importance of building a more resilient Hawai‘i against all hazards,” Meyers said. “I’m looking forward to advising Governor Green on the path to achieve that goal.” 

Maj. Gen. Hara is naming Col. (Ret.) James DS. Barros as the new Administrator for HI-EMA. Barros comes to the state from Booz Allen Hamilton as its Senior Exercise Planner with the 25th Infantry Division. Prior to that, he was an emergency management staff officer with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Emergency Management. Barros recently retired from the Hawai‘i Army National Guard (HIARNG) after a 32-year career, 22 in active service.

“I’ve worked with Col. (Ret.) James Barros for decades and know that his exceptional leadership and experience will continue to improve HI-EMA’s readiness,” said Hara.  

Barros was the Chief of Staff for the Hawai‘i National Guard’s Joint Task Force, a force that was more than 1,300 strong, established to support the state’s response to COVID-19.

“I am honored to be the newest member of the HI-EMA team and the privilege to serve as the Administrator,” said Barros. “I look forward to working closely with Governor Green and MG Hara as we strengthen the partnerships with our county teammates, volunteer organizations, and our communities. HI-EMA is a dynamic organization with diverse responsibilities to prepare and protect the people of Hawai‘i.”





Media Contact:

Maj. (Ret) Jeffrey D. Hickman

Director, Public Affairs

State of Hawai‘i, Department of Defense

Office: 808-441-7000

Direct: 808-779-8008

[email protected]