Earth Institute Staff Directory

Joseph W Pfeifer

Senior Staff Associate , National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) , The Earth Institute

Director of Crisis Leadership , National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP)

64-63 83 Place
Middle Village, NY 11379

BIOGRAPHY: Joe Pfeifer is the Director for Crisis Leadership at NCDP. He is one of the world’s leading experts on managing extreme events and has appeared in major media interviews and spoken at the World Knowledge Forum, United Nations’ Conferences in NY and Geneva, Wharton’s Leadership Conference, National Guard Joint Senior Leader Conference and other major symposiums. Pfeifer has taught senior leaders from around the world about disaster management, critical decision-making, crisis leadership and communications. With extensive field expertise, he has conducted hundreds of simulations to test public and private sector response capabilities, capacity and coordination and has also testified in front of the U.S. Congress about the threats cities will face in the future.

He is a Retired Assistant Chief from the New York City Fire Department and the founding director of FDNY’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness. During his career, he has commanded some of the largest disasters in the New York City’s history. He was the first Chief at the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, played a major command role during Hurricane Sandy and helped manage NYC’s Ebola Response efforts.


Selective Citations (from over 40 published articles):

“Managing Cyber Incidents with Physical Effects.” Defense Cyber Review, Spring 2018.
“International Anti-Terrorism Preparedness.” WNYF, 4/2016.
“Tiered Response Pyramid: Enhancing Response Capability and Surge Capacity.” with Roman. in Homeland Security Affairs, 12, Article 5 December 2016.
“Tiered Response: Preparing for Novelty (Ebola Response)” Pro EMS, (1/20/16).
“Crisis Leadership: The Art of Adapting to Extreme Events.” Harvard Kennedy School’s Programs on Crisis Leadership, 2013.
“Hurricane Sandy Sparks Conflagration at Breezy Point”, WNYF, (2/2013), 24-28.
“Network Fusion: Information and Intelligence Sharing in a Network World.” Homeland Security Affairs, October 2012.
“The Decisive Moment: The Science of Decision Making Under Stress,” with J. Merlo, in Leadership in Dangerous Situations. ed. by Sweeney, P. Matthews, M. and Lester, P. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2011.
“Understanding How Organizational Bias Influenced First Responders.” in
Psychology of Terrorism, ed. Bongar, Zimbardo, et al. NY: Oxford University Press, 2007. “