07 Mar Senate confirms Kerlikowske to head Customs and Border Protection
The Senate on Thursday voted by unanimous consent to confirm U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske as the next head of Customs and Border Protection.
Kerlikowske has an extensive background in law enforcement. Besides serving as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy since 2009, he was Seattle’s police chief for more than eight years. He also led police departments in Buffalo, Fort Pierce, Fla. and Port St. Lucie, Fla., in addition to working for two years as deputy director of the Justice Department’s community-oriented policing division during the Clinton administration.
With the Senate action on Thursday, Kerlikowske is set to become the first permanent CBP chief since 2011, when former commissioner Alan Bersin, a recess appointee, stepped down. He is also the first Senate-confirmed commissioner since 2009, the last year of W. Ralph Basham’s tenure in the position.
President Obama nominated Kerlikowske in August. Thomas S. Winkowski has served as CBP’s acting director since roughly the same time.