Gil Kerlikowske, who has been on the job as head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for less than three months, said his law enforcement background in some ways gives him more credibility in pushing an agenda of reducing security and regulatory barriers for cross-border shipping.
The former director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy who spent nine years as police chief in Seattle, said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Supply Chain Summit in early May, that he strongly supports the trade transformation initiatives underway at the agency, but acknowledged there were concerns within industry that he would focus on border security at the expense of trade flows.
“I want you to know that I almost immediately disabused the trade community of those concerns because they mentioned ACE. I said, ‘Look. I know all about ACE. This is my ACE rewards card. Everybody knew right away this guy really knows a lot about this stuff,” he joked.
The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is CBP’s new information technology system that supports its cargo processing, security and communications activity.
Kerlikowske said his background carries weight when he talks to folks on Capitol Hill or in the White House about trade issues because they know he won’t compromise security, which makes him a strong messenger “for the importance of moving the cargo.”
This commentary was published in the June 2014 issue of American Shipper.