Major General Kenneth Hara, Director
Governor David Y. Ige appointed Major General Kenneth S. Hara as the Adjutant General, Hawaiʻi on December 6, 2019. General Hara serves as the Director, Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), one of the six divisions of the State Department of Defense.
His responsibilities as the Director of the State Department of Defense include overseeing the training and readiness of 5,500 Soldiers and Airmen of the Hawaiʻi National Guard. He is the Director of the Office of Homeland Security, and the Homeland Security Adviser to the Governor. The State Department of Defense runs the Hawaiʻi National Guard Youth Challenge Academy and provides direct support to the Office of Veterans Services, an attached agency.
Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, Chapter 127A-3 Emergency Management outlines the Director’s duties, which include:
- Coordinating agency activities with county emergency management agencies and other public and private organizations dealing with emergency management
- Maintaining liaison and cooperate with these agencies
- Performing emergency management functions within the state
- Supporting county emergency management agencies as required
- Coordinating all resource support to the counties
- Ensuring coordination of emergency management plans across the state and with state, Federal and other organizations
- Issuing alerts and warnings
- Coordinating emergency and disaster response and recovery activities
Brig. Gen. Hara has served as the Deputy Adjutant General since Jan. 2019. In addition, he has been the Assistant Adjutant General – Army since Jan. 2018, and since Feb. 2018 Hara was dual-hatted as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Army National Guard, Operations, G3, Eighth United States Army Korea. In addition, he has served as the chief of the Joint Staff for the Hawaiʻi National Guard where he was responsible for day-to-day operations. Prior to that, he served as commander for the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Hara has served in command positions during deployments to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. In addition to his federal mobilizations, Hara has served on several state missions in support of local authorities. Most notably he played key roles in the response following Hurricane Iniki in 1992, after an earthquake struck the island of Hawaiʻi in 2006, and as the Dual Status Commander of Joint Task Force 5-0 in support of the Kīlauea volcanic eruption and Hurricane Lane responses in 2018.
Brig. Gen. Hara earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in human services from Hawaii Pacific University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
Thomas Travis, Administrator
Retired U.S. Navy Captain Thomas Travis was appointed to serve as Administrator of the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) on March 16, 2018.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Travis’s naval career spanned over 30 years, including service as Commanding Officer of the USS New York City, Commander of Submarine Squadron Eleven, and Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of Carrier Group Eight. He also served as Director of Navy Modeling and Simulation, and Director of the Maritime Battle Center.
Following his retirement from the U.S. Navy, Travis worked as an Assistant Director at the Joint Advanced Warfighting Program at the Institute for Defense Analyses, and most recently as the Studies Director, Joint Center for Operational Analysis, U.S. Joint Staff.
A former national security analyst, Travis was and editor and contributing author of foundational studies on Operation Iraqi Freedom and the U.S. Government response to Hurricane Katrina.
Travis most recently resided in Tucson, Arizona, but has previous ties to Hawai’i, having lived in Kapoho on the Island of Hawai’i from 2011 to 2016. He also served on various submarines at Pearl Harbor from 1977 to 1991.