Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has moved quickly to replace the departing head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that overseas the nation’s border security with law enforcement agents such as U.S. Border Patrol.
Napolitano has named CBP deputy commissioner David V. Aguilar to lead the sprawling agency and field operations chief Thomas Winkowski to serve as acting deputy commission.
The two career officials “bring decades of experience on the front line and will continue their proven leadership of the men and women at CBP as they protect our country against terrorist threats, secure our borders and foster lawful travel and trade,” Napolitano said.
The homeland secretary made the announcement after Alan Bersin announced he would be leaving his post as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Dec. 30.
Bersin was named to the post temporarily by President Obama as a recess appointment because Senate Republicans objected to his confirmation for the post.
Bersin, in a statement, called his tenure as commissioner “one of the most rewarding experiences of my public life.” He said he was “immensely proud of the significant and meaningful achievements” made during his tenure of nearly two years.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut heading the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs said Bersin had provided the agency “strong and effective leadership during a challenging time,” adding that it had been “sad testament to our broken nomination process” that Bersin never cleared the Senate Finance Committee to have his confirmation reach the Senate floor for a vote.
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