Francine Kerner was named Chief Counsel in January 2002. In this capacity, she advises senior TSA officials on all legal matters relating to protection of the nation’s transportation systems.
As TSA’s first Chief Counsel, she was responsible for providing legal advice and services in connection with the largest mobilization of a civilian government agency since World War II. This mobilization resulted in the hiring, training, equipping and deploying of more than 60,000 employees to more than 450 locations in less than a year and the execution of a three-year budget in excess of $16 billion.
As part of TSA’s senior management team, she helped lead the effort to secure and successfully restore confidence in civil aviation following the September 11, 2001, attacks, working with senior Bush Administration officials, Congress and stakeholders to enhance security in all modes of transportation. As Chief Counsel, Kerner has built a nationwide legal office, hiring attorneys and support personnel from over 56 government agencies, private firms and corporations.
Before joining TSA, she held a variety of senior legal positions at the departments of Commerce and Treasury. In her previous position as Deputy Assistant General Counsel for enforcement at Treasury, she provided counsel on a wide range of sensitive and complex matters involving Treasury law enforcement agencies.
Before joining the federal government in 1979, Kerner served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York.
In 2001, she received the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award for outstanding contributions as a federal attorney. In 2013, she received the Burton Award for legal achievement in public service and was named as the recipient of the Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service by the District of Columbia Bar. She is a graduate of Queens College in New York City and New York University School of Law.