Dawn Thomas is a co-director of the Center for Emergency Management and Operations and director of the Center for Critical Incident Analysis. She is an expert in large-scale incident planning and response. She has worked on a large array of emergency preparedness issues, helping federal, regional, state and local agencies prepare for and respond to biological attacks, active shooters, large-scale evacuations, medical evacuations, earthquakes and tsunamis, mass casualty chemical incidents, public health outbreaks and cyberattacks.
Thomas has written, executed and evaluated more than 60 exercises, experiments and wargames in the fields of health and medical operations, terrorism prevention and response, unmanned systems, animal disease, public health and cybersecurity. She also plays an active role in the analyses of real-world operations, including evaluations of local, state and federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, severe traffic on Virginia's I-95 during a January 2022 snowstorm, after-action reviews for presidential inaugurations, preparations for Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and preparations for numerous hurricanes by FEMA and other federal agencies.
Thomas received a Master of Arts from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Carnegie Mellon University. In Israel she spent three years researching terror campaigns and their comparison with individual acts of terror