Frances M. Fragos Townsend (born December 28, 1961, Mineola, New York), the former Homeland Security Advisor to United States President George W. Bush. Townsend was appointed to this position by President Bush on May 28, 2004. Her resignation was announced November 19, 2007. She chaired the Homeland Security Council and reported to the President on homeland security policy and counterterrorism policy. She previously served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism.
Frances M. Fragos was born the daughter of a Greek American father who was a roofer and an Irish American mother who was an office manager for a construction company. Raised in Wantagh, Long Island, Townsend was the first in her family to finish high school. Her parents were determined that their only child should receive a college education, but could not afford to send her to school. Townsend saved money by accelerating her course load, waiting tables and working as a dormitory adviser. She graduated cum laude from the American University in 1982 where she received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Psychology. In 1984, she received her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law, and in 1986, attended the Institute on International and Comparative Law in London, England. In 1994, she married lawyer John Townsend; the couple have two sons, ages 12 and 6 years old.
Townsend began her prosecutorial career in 1985, serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, New York. In 1988, she joined the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York where she focused on international organized crime and white-collar crime cases.