It is the first time in recent memory anyone in active service at the former Customs Service or CBP (created in 2003) has been nominated for the commissioner position during the modern era.
The Senate must confirm McAleenan as the new commissioner.
CBP is responsible for managing the legal entry and export of goods and services, and ensuring cargo is secure from terrorist tampering. The agency is also on the frontlines of processing travelers at ports of entry, and its Border Patrol arm enforces security along land borders between checkpoints.
McAleenan has run the agency since former Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske left at the end of the Obama administration on Jan. 20.
In recent weeks, McAleenan has been in the spotlight with assisting Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly implement President Trump’s two immigration bans from several predominantly Muslim countries, both of which have been blocked by federal appeals courts from being implemented.
From 2006 to 2008, McAleenan 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 one of CBP’s largest field commands. He was promoted to acting assistant commissioner of field operations in December 2011.
McAleenan received a 2015 Presidential Rank Award, the nation’s highest civil service award. He also received the Service to America Medal, Call to Service Award in 2005 for spearheading efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive antiterrorism strategy in the border security context after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack.
Meanwhile, President Trump has also nominated Mira R. Ricardel to serve as undersecretary of the Commerce Department's Export Administration, with responsibility for export licensing and controls. She currently serves as special assistant to the president for presidential personnel. During her past tenure at the Defense Department, she held the positions of acting assistant secretary of defense for international security policy and deputy assistant secretary of defense for Eurasia.