A Conversation on Leadership With the Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Kevin K. McAleenan is the deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, making him the chief operating official of the 60,000-employee agency that handles customs, immigration and border security at our nation's airports, seaports and along our land borders.

McAleenan, who played an integral role in the development and implementation of CBP's antiterrorism strategy, discussed his motivation for public service, the challenges he faces and his passion for University of Michigan football. I interviewed McAleenan as a guest writer for On Leadership and the vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Q. What motivated you to pursue a career in public service, and in particular at Customs and Border Protection?

A. It was really born from a desire to do something that mattered, inspiration from my father's military service, and wanting to be part of the solution after the 9/11 attacks.

This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.