Headshot of Gil Kerlikowske

Gil Kerlikowske

Nonresident Fellow


Gil Kerlikowske is a nonresident fellow at the Center for the U.S. 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. In this role, he initiated the first “President’s Strategy on Prescription Drugs,” authored the “President’s National Drug Control Strategy” and co-authored (with John Brennan) the “President’s Trans-National Organized Crime Strategy.” Kerlikowske was the deputy director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services from 1998 to 2000. From 2000 to 2009, Kerlikowske served as chief of the Seattle Police Department, where he completely restructured Seattle’s response to major international incidents in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He was commissioner of the Buffalo Police Department from 1994 to 1998, transforming the department to a community-oriented policing organization. He was twice elected president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

Most recently, Kerlikowske was a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Spring 2017. Kerlikowske’s private consulting practice provides strategic advice to U.S. companies. He is also a distinguished fellow at the Global Resilience Institute and a professor of the practice at Northeastern University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Kerlikowske received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of South Florida.

Contact him at gilkerlikowske@hotmail.com.