With over 60,000 personnel, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is larger than some Cabinet offices and is involved in many areas of the U.S. economy. Many of CBP’s areas of responsibility are unfamiliar to even the most engaged and knowledgeable members of the public. The current challenges facing CBP include an ongoing backlog in the supply chain, exacerbated by consumer demand and antiquated methods of unloading goods at our shipping ports; the impact of COVID-19 on travel, tourism, and the reopening of the borders with Canada and Mexico to vaccinated travelers; and the flow of fentanyl — responsible for more deaths and overdoses than heroin or prescription opioids — through international mail and ports, both of which are under the responsibility of CBP.
At this event, Gil Kerlikowske, a nonresident fellow at the Baker Institute Center for the United States and Mexico and former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, shared his insights on these issues and how to address the challenges and needs of CBP moving forward.
Gil Kerlikowske is a nonresident fellow at the Baker Institute Center for the United States and Mexico specializing in border issues. He has a distinguished 40-year career as an urban law enforcement executive, including serving as the only Senate-confirmed commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from 2014 to 2017. As commissioner, Kerlikowske guided CBP’s mission to secure the nation’s borders while facilitating lawful international trade and travel and oversaw the agency’s annual $13 billion budget. Prior to his appointment to CBP, Kerlikowske was the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009 to 2014, a Cabinet-level position. He is also a distinguished fellow at the Global Resilience Institute, a professor of the practice at Northeastern University and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Kerlikowske received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of South Florida.
Tony Payan, Ph.D.
Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies and Director, Center for the United States and Mexico