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NEWS | Sept. 10, 2021

Profiles in Professionalism: Cmdr. Jorge Anaya

By NEPLO Public Affairs

Growing up in Los Angeles, Cmdr. Jorge Anaya knew many people from his neighborhood who headed off into military service.

As the son of immigrants, he saw the military as a way to thank the United States for the opportunity it gave his family.

“I am motivated to serve my country,” said Anaya. “My parents came here from Mexico, and I feel a debt of duty to the country that provided me with school and security.”

After graduating from the University of California Los Angeles, Anaya received a commission in 2000. He spent 10 years on active duty as an aviation maintenance duty officer, then transitioned to the Navy Reserve in 2011.

But he still lets that sense of service drive his life.

As a civilian, that service is in support of his community. Since 2017 he’s worked for the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management. As a part of the public information section, Anaya alerts and warns the public about emergencies.

In his civilian job, Anaya has sent out wireless emergency alerts warning the public about growing fires and supported the LA County’s local assistance center in the Woolsey fire aftermath, when more than 295,000 people were evacuated from their homes in 2018.

Anaya was surprised when he discovered a special emergency management community within the Navy.

The Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (NEPLO) program is a community that only exists in the Navy Reserve. NEPLOs respond to emergencies in the U.S. in order to connect Department of Defense resources in a whole-of-government response to relief efforts.

In March, Anaya became a NEPLO.

“When you join the Navy, you want to protect the nation,” said Anaya. “When I became a NEPLO, I wanted to help save lives, prevent suffering and mitigate major property damage on the home front. NEPLOs want to stop bad things from happening within our own communities. That is why we do what we do: we want to take care of our home and our neighbors.”

Being a NEPLO has been “eye-opening” in understanding how the Department of Defense can provide resources to communities in times of need.

“I didn’t come in thinking I know everything because I work in emergency management,” said Anaya. “If anything, it made me more curious and made me want to ask more questions.”
Anaya went from his civilian emergency management focus of warning the public about an emergency to a NEPLO focus of helping communities in the moments those emergencies hit.

“You're presented with kind of the same problem, but you have to think in two different ways. It’s helpful to know more now where each of the roles begin and end, and in the end on both sides we’re helping solve problems.”

Anaya is attached to the Navy Reserve Defense Support of Civil Authorities Hawaii unit. Within NR DSCA Hawaii, he works as a liaison to Commander, U.S. Third Fleet. In NR DSCA Hawaii, Anaya supports FEMA Region 9, Hawaii and the American territories in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of operations.

And he’s standing at the ready.

“Hopefully it doesn’t come to pass, but that is what we’re here for. We just wait for that call, if that should happen.”