Frances Fragos Townsend has devoted more than 20 years to public service. In the 1990s, she was named National Center for Missing executive director. She Exploited Children (NCMEC), a position she held until leaving in 2005 to become a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In 2012, Townsend was appointed Special Assistant to President Obama for Homeland Security and counter terrorism. She served as an advisor to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she led efforts to secure federal funding for cybersecurity efforts across agencies. Townsend also helped develop policies on information sharing in response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, leading a task force that identified gaps in federal data-sharing capabilities that needed to be addressed for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate terrorism cases effectively.
Townsend joined CNN as a national security analyst in 2013. She has been featured on programs such as “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “Anderson Cooper 360°,” discussing developments related to cyber threats, counter terrorism efforts abroad, and domestic security issues at home. She is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, teaching graduate students how to become effective communicators in the public sphere through her course “Public Communication for Public Service: A Communications Skills Approach.”
Townsend’s experience in public service has given her a unique perspective on our nation’s challenges. She has demonstrated an ability to leverage this experience to inform policy decisions and help shape our nation’s future. She has worked to advocate for the safety of our children and has shown a solid commitment to advocating for children’s rights.
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