Robert E. Perez was named as the Deputy Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In this role, he serves as the agency’s senior career official, with a primary focus of working closely with the Commissioner to ensure that CBP’s mission of protecting our Nation’s borders from terrorists and terrorist weapons is carried out effectively in partnership with other Federal, state, local, and foreign entities. Other top CBP priorities for which Mr. Perez is responsible include securing and facilitating legitimate global trade and travel, keeping illegal drugs and illegal aliens from crossing our borders, and protecting our Nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and disease.
Additionally, he provides executive leadership in planning short and long-range strategies, activities, and projects. Mr. Perez analyzes project proposals and develops recommendations for implementation and action, including proposals for assignment of resources necessary for completion of projects having national and international impact.
Mr. Perez was recently selected as the Executive Assistant Commissioner for Operations Support (OS) and has been acting in this capacity since February 27, 2017. Within OS, Mr. Perez provides oversight and executive direction to experts, analysts, and innovators who enable front line operators and strengthen mission execution of CBP.
Prior to coming to OS, Mr. Perez served as the Director of Field Operations (DFO) for CBP's New York Field Office, where he directed the activities of nearly 3,000 CBP employees and oversaw the arrival of more than 21 million international travelers and over $240 billion in imported goods. Mr. Perez has also held the positions of DFO and Port Director in Detroit, Michigan, leading the activities of more than 1,100 CBP employees throughout the state at seven ports of entry, which included three international bridges, the busiest commercial truck border crossing in North America, and the busiest privately owned vehicle border crossing between the U.S. and Canada.
Prior to his arrival in Michigan in 2005, Mr. Perez served as the first Director of the Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) in Washington, DC, a position he held for three years beginning in 2002. In that role, he oversaw the development and implementation of all the anti-terrorism industry partnership programs for CBP. Mr. Perez held various positions as a Program Manager in CBP headquarters from 1997 through 2001, and began his career with the U.S. Customs Service in 1992 as a Customs Inspector in Newark, New Jersey.
Mr. Perez has represented the Department of Homeland Security and CBP as a border security expert throughout the globe at scores of international business conferences, on official assignments alongside senior figures in U.S. and foreign government, and in the national and international press. He has been a guest lecturer at the Georgetown University Law Center, Michigan State University Law School, the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Mr. Perez also served on the Advisory Board of the Criminal Justice Department at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.
Mr. Perez has been widely recognized throughout his career for his accomplishments and contributions to international border and trade security, including being named "Person of the Year" by the Maritime Security Council, receiving the "Keys to the City" by the Mayor of Cartagena, Colombia, and receiving the "True American Hero, Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Federal Drug Agents Foundation.
Mr. Perez is a career member of the Senior Executive Service, and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He also is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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