President Obama this week nominated the nation's drug policy czar to take the reins of Customs and Border Protection, setting the stage for the agency to get its first politically appointed chief in more than a year and a half.
The nomination of R. Gil Kerlikowske, who has 37 years of law enforcement and drug policy experience, has been sent to the Senate for consideration. The confirmation of politically appointed Customs commissioner could help the agency strengthen its case to Congress for more funding.
Kerlikowske has served as Seattle’s chief of police, police commissioner in Buffalo, New York, and deputy director for the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, according to the White House.
Alan Bersin left the job as Customs' politically appointed commissioner in December 2011 after the Senate Finance Committee refused to consider his nomination. His successor, David Aguilar, left the post in March, passing leadership to Thomas Winkowski.