Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske on Tuesday continued to fill vacant leadership positions at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske on Tuesday continued to fill vacant leadership positions at U.S. Customs and Border Protection with the announcement that Todd Owen has been promoted to Assistant Commissioner of Field Operations. John Wagner, the acting assistant commissioner, was named the permanent deputy assistant commissioner.
The news was revealed to business groups and trade interests gathered at CBP headquarters.
Owen, a rising star within the agency, currently is the director of field operations for the Los Angeles region, with oversight of local airports, Las Vegas International Airport, and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Before relocating from Washington to L.A. in 2011, Owen was the executive director of cargo and conveyance security within the Office of Field Operations.
He also has experience as the program director for the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and was the port director in New Orleans.
The Office of Field Operations is the largest component in CBP and is responsible for border security, enforcing trade laws, and enabling lawful trade and travel through ports of entry. OFO has a staff of more than 28,000 employees at 20 major field offices, 328 ports of entry and 70 locations in more than 40 countries.
Kerlikowske, who took the agency’s reins in March, has spent the past few months filling key vacancies that were open for long periods due to retirements and the lengthy transition to a new, permanent commissioner. In September, Kerlikowske appointed Brenda Smith as assistant commissioner for international trade and Richard DiNucci as executive director of cargo and conveyance security. Sandra Bell subsequently was named deputy assistant commissioner for international trade. Last month, Kevin McAleenan was named the permanent deputy commissioner.