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The Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management was created by legislation in 1972 under the original name of Department of Military, Civil Defense and Veterans Services. In this legislation, the administrative offices of the Adjutant General became the Military Bureau; the former Civil Defense and Public Safety Agency became the Bureau of Civil Defense; and the former Department of Veterans Services became the Bureau of Veterans Services; with the Adjutant General designated as both Commissioner of the new department and Director of the Military Bureau.

Effective in June 1974, the 106th Legislature revised the law to direct the appointment of the Deputy Adjutant General as Director of the Military Bureau, thus freeing the Adjutant General to function solely as Commissioner of the Department. This revision also renamed the Bureau of Civil Defense as the Bureau of Civil Emergency Preparedness. Over the next couple of years, the Department was re-designated Department of Defense and Veterans Services.

During the 113th Legislature the Bureau of Civil Emergency Preparedness was renamed the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). At the direction of the 115th Legislature, the Bureau of Veterans Services was changed to the Division of Veterans Services. In 1995 the 117th Legislature added the requirement that the Adjutant General/Commissioner's appointment be subject to Legislative confirmation. In 1997 the 118th Legislature re-designated the Division of Veterans Services as the Bureau of Maine Veterans Services and designated its leader as the Bureau Director. In October 2001, the Department was assigned responsibility for coordinating the homeland security activities of the State, to include interface in such matters with federal, county, and local government. The Commissioner was assigned the additional duty of directing these activities. The Maine Military Authority was established as a public instrumentality of the State within the Executive Department in 2001 and given specific authorities to be managed by the Commissioner of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management.

During the 123rd Legislature in 2008 TITLE 3 M.R.S.A. §959 was amended to read that the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over criminal justice and public safety matters shall include the Maine Emergency Management Agency which is within the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, hence they are not included in this report.

This year the 129th Legislature enacted a change to 37-B, §501 to re-designate veterans’ services to be the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services. Also, in 2019 the Maine Military Authority shut down operations and is in the process of formal closure activities.


The Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management (DVEM) is responsible for all military, veterans and emergency management related operations within the State of Maine. It is established to coordinate and improve the discharge of the State Government's responsibility relating to military, veterans and emergency preparedness through the authorization, planning and provisions of resources, administration, operation and audit of activities in these areas.

DVEM is a customer-focused organization providing quality services and benefits daily and in times of crisis, protects life, freedom, and property for all of Maine’s people.


  • Quality customer service in response to people’s needs.
  • Clearly defined plans to accomplish our goals.
  • A work environment of mutual respect, concern and trust.
  • Enhanced opportunities for professional development and personal initiative.
  • Pride in public service to Community, State and Nation.
  • Individual and team responsibility and accountability.
  • Commitment to quality performance and a high degree of integrity & professionalism.

    Last Updated: January 21, 2022