Lee W. Smithson was appointed by Governor Bryant as MEMA Executive Director on February 1, 2016. Prior to assuming duties at MEMA, Smithson served as the Director of Military Support for the Mississippi National Guard for over ten years. He has a total of over 31 years’ service to the Mississippi National Guard and US Army.
During his time in the Guard, Smithson supported domestic operations for Hurricanes Isadore, Lili, Katrina, Gustav, Ike and Isaac. He also supported the tornado outbreaks in 2010, 2011 and 2014 as well as the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. Smithson supported the Guard’s federal mission with deployments to Bosnia and Iraq.
His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge. Smithson holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University, a Masters in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College and a Masters in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is married and has two children.