Brad Kieserman began serving as the Chief Counsel of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in March 2010. The Office of Chief Counsel advises the Administrator and all of FEMA’s directorates on legal matters related to agency programs and operations.
Prior to coming to FEMA, Kieserman served as Associate General Counsel for Operations and Enforcement in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the General Counsel. In that role, Kieserman’s portfolio included emergency and incident management, use of force, counterterrorism operations, law enforcement authorities and activities, international operations, border-, aviation-, maritime-, and transportation-related security, and screening and credentialing programs. Kieserman led the DHS operational legal team responding to the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, the 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt of Northwest Flight #253, and the response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
In 2009, Kieserman received an appointment to the Senior Executive Service after 22 years in civilian, enlisted, and commissioned officer positions with the U.S. Coast Guard. His tours of duty in the Coast Guard included 11 years at sea, 10 years as a federal maritime law enforcement officer, and two years as Commanding Officer of the USCGC Point Countess in South Florida. Kieserman was a first responder during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and the Caribbean mass migrations in 1994, and participated in dozens of search and rescue operations at sea.
After serving as the Legal Advisor to the Coast Guard’s Chief of Law Enforcement during and after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Kieserman was selected in 2004 as the first Chief of the Coast Guard’s Operations Law Group. In that position, he oversaw the provision of real-time, on-demand legal advice for worldwide Coast Guard operations, conducted numerous international negotiations, and trained hundreds of attorneys. Kieserman is also a co-author of the President’s Maritime Operational Threat Response Plan and served as the federal MOTR Coordinator for hundreds of maritime incidents and interdictions, including the pirate attack on the U.S. flagged vessel Maersk Alabama off the coast of Somalia in 2009.
Kieserman is a graduate of the State University of New York, and received his J.D. magna cum laude from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in Washington, DC, where he was managing editor of the Catholic University Law Review. In 2008, Kieserman received the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Silver Medal, which is awarded for exceptionally meritorious service to the department, and to the federal government. His military awards include the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Kieserman and his wife Cathy have two sons, Hunter and Noah.