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Thomas S. Winkowski
Acting Chief Operating Officer , U. S. Customs and Border Protection

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Thomas S. Winkowski currently is acting chief operating officer of U.S. Customs and Border Protection after a long and varied career in federal law enforcement. As the acting COO, Winkowski oversees the daily operations of CBP’s 60,000-employee workforce and managing an operating budget of more than $11.5 billion. He focuses on the effectiveness and efficiency of agency operations. Winkowski served as acting deputy commissioner Dec. 30, 2011-August 29, 2012.

From 2007 through 2011, Winkowski served as assistant commissioner in CBP’s Office of Field Operations, where he managed the largest and most complex organization in CBP providing port security and administration, overseeing nearly 28,000 employees and an operating budget of $3.5 billion. During his tenure, Winkowski developed CBP field operations into a world-class law enforcement organization by extending the scope of operations around the globe and by modernizing port-related activities.

He has been a champion for innovation, including high technology solutions, such as inspection imaging systems, radiation portal monitors, and biometrics; for intelligence-driven operations through the establishment of two world-renowned National Targeting Centers for passengers and cargo; and for the extension of security operations beyond physical borders through international and stakeholder partnerships. As assistant commissioner, Winkowski was responsible for operations at 20 major field offices, 331 Ports of Entry, 58 operational Container Security Initiative ports, and 15 preclearance stations in Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean.

Winkowski served as director of field operations in Miami from 2002–2007, managing more than 2,000 employees. There he oversaw all of CBP’s inspectional operations at Miami International Airport, Miami Seaport, Port Everglades/Fort Lauderdale International Airport, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce and Key West.

From 1999–2002, Winkowski was Miami’s port director. Previously, he was port director at Los Angeles International Airport, one of the world’s busiest transportation hubs. He was assistant district director in Los Angeles from 1986 until 1995, after rising through the ranks and holding several mission-critical positions at headquarters.

Winkowski joined the U.S. Customs Service in 1975 as a cooperative education student. Upon graduating from Boston’s Northeastern University in 1978, he was assigned to Los Angeles where he became a Customs inspector.

Winkowski was awarded the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award by President Bush in 2004. In 2009, he was awarded the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award by President Obama.

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