In an unusual move but one likely to be welcomed by the trade community, President Trump announced March 30 his intention to nominate a career U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, Kevin McAleenan, as commissioner. McAleenan had been serving as deputy commissioner until being named acting commissioner when Trump took office Jan. 20.
Unlike recent commissioners selected from law enforcement backgrounds outside CBP, McAleenan has substantial experience with both trade facilitation and enforcement from within the agency. From 2006 to 2008 he served as the area port director of Los Angeles International Airport, directing CBP’s border security operations at LAX and 17 other airport facilities. In December 2011 he was named acting assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations, where he led agency efforts to secure the U.S. border while expediting lawful trade and travel at 329 ports of entry in the U.S. and 70 international locations in more than 40 countries. He became deputy commissioner on Nov. 2, 2014, serving as CBP’s chief operating officer and senior career official.
McAleenan recently told a meeting of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee that CBP will continue to focus on implementation of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act while also following the president’s directive to eliminate, simplify, or streamline regulations that make it difficult for importers and exporters to do business. A CBP press release noted that McAleenan has advanced the development of CBP’s trade transformation agenda, developed strategies that protect U.S. borders, and implemented innovations that have facilitated the U.S. international arrival and departure process.