Benjamin Friedman is performing the duties of NOAA Administrator and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Ben’s regular role is as NOAA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Operations, where he serves as the agency’s chief operating officer and is responsible for the day-to-day management of NOAA’s national and international operations for oceanic and atmospheric services, research and coastal and marine stewardship.
This is Ben’s third position within NOAA, having previously served as NOAA’s Deputy General Counsel and as Chief of the Office of General Counsel’s Enforcement Section. He brings more than 14 years of federal management and leadership experience to his current role.
Ben previously served as Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Commerce, where among other duties he oversaw employment, labor, litigation, and oversight matters for the Department and its bureaus. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Ben spent 16 years as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice, including four years in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section and 12 years at the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. While with the US Attorney’s Office, Ben was responsible for managing two different trial sections and served as a Special Assistant to the US Attorney. Before joining the Justice Department, he was a clerk to Judge Pierce Lively on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ben is a 1989 graduate of Vanderbilt University with a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a 1993 graduate of Emory University Law School and the Emory School of Theology, where he earned a masters in Theological Studies. He is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, but has called the District of Columbia home for the last 24 years.