James Schwartz retired in 2021 as the Deputy County Manager for public safety and technology in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to that he served in the Arlington County Fire Department for 32 years, the last 11 as Chief of Department. During his tenure with the fire department, he served in a variety of fire department positions including Assistant Chief for Operations, responsible for all response-related activities, including fire, EMS, hazardous materials and technical rescue response, incident management and operational training. In April 2003, he was assigned to the Office of the County Manager where he established a new department of Emergency Management and served as its director until his appointment to Fire Chief.
The Arlington County Fire Department was the lead agency for the response to the September 11, 2001 attack at the Pentagon. Chief Schwartz led the Unified Command effort for the Pentagon incident.
Schwartz is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Committee on Terrorism and Homeland Security which he chaired from 2008 until August 2014 and he is a member of the Interagency Board on Equipment Standardization a national board that works to strengthen preparedness in the first responder community. He previously served on the Advisory Council for the Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG) and subsequently the Joint Countererrorism Assessment Team (JCAT) at the National Counter Terrorism Center. He is also a founder of the Northern Virginia Emergency Response System a multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional organization that works to support and enhance regional preparedness.
Chief Schwartz is a life-member of Leadership Arlington, an organization that develops and connects leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors of Arlington County. He received the organization’s Leadership Legacy Award for 2012.
Chief Schwartz graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration and is a graduate of the Executive Leaders Program at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.