The Borders, Trade, and Immigration (BTI) Institute’s External Advisory Board consists of approximately eight to ten public leaders with significant expertise in border and coastal security, immigration, and trade issues.
External Advisory Board members are selected for their knowledge in relevant domains; access to world-class networks; and sterling professional reputations to enhance the BTI Institute’s image and build its foundation for future success.
The BTI Institute’s External Advisory Board serves to assist BTI Institute leaders in planning, research, technology, and market development. Its members work to:
- Provide strategic direction and advice to the Director;
- Actively assist the BTI Institute in achieving its goals;
- Provide links between the BTI Institute and its strategic and operational environment;
- Act as a sounding board to BTI Institute leadership in regards to its future development; and
- Enhance the visibility of the Institute nation-wide
The BTI Institute’s External Advisory Board is led by the Honorable David Aguilar. Members’ photos and biographies are found below:
Principal, The Atkin Group
Retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral
Tom Atkin is a retired U.S Coast Guard Rear Admiral and former acting assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, and principal with The Atkin Group.
Previously, Tom served as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security. He was responsible for DoD strategy and policy on cyber, countering weapons of mass destruction, space, homeland defense, domestic antiterrorism, global force protection, mission assurance, critical infrastructure, and defense support to civil authorities. He also served as the DoD Domestic Crisis Manager, DoD Principal Cyber Advisor, and Executive Director of the Council of Governors.
Tom retired from the Coast Guard as a Rear Admiral in June 2012 after more than 30 years of service in operational and strategic roles. His government experience includes serving in roles at the National Security Council, DoD, DHS, FEMA, and U.S. Navy.
His senior leadership positions include: Assistant Commandant for Intelligence and Criminal Investigations; Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Transborder Security on the National Security Council; Commander of the Deployable Operations Group; and Chief of Staff to the DHS Principal Federal Official for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. His Pentagon assignments were Chief, Maritime Homeland Security and Defense Policy, OSD; and Chief, Counter-Terrorism Branch, CNO (Deep Blue).
He is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematical Sciences and holds a Master of Science in Management Science from the University of Miami.
Former Acting Commissioner, US Customs and Border Protection
Commissioner David V. Aguilar is a Partner at GSIS. At GSIS, Mr. Aguilar advises clients on a broad range of national homeland and international security matters including border operations, security management, global trade and commerce, supply chain management and security, critical infrastructure protection, risk management, viability assessments and strategic planning and implementation.
Mr. Aguilar was appointed Acting Commissioner of U. S. Customs and Border Protection on December 30, 2011. As Commissioner Mr. Aguilar led the United States government's largest law enforcement organization with a workforce of 60,000, including 43,000 uniformed law enforcement officers. He strategically planned, formulated, and executed a yearly budget of nearly 12 billion dollars and was responsible for the management of the largest civilian Law Enforcement Air Force in the world.
Prior to being named Acting Commissioner Aguilar had been CBP Deputy Commissioner since April 11, 2010. As Acting Commissioner and as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security's agency responsible for leading the world's only unified integrated border management agency, Aguilar was responsible for securing the over 6,000 miles of land border between the ports of entry against the smuggling of illegal entrants into the United States, illicit goods, narcotics, and weapons for use against the population of the United States.
Mr. Aguilar also served as Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. During that time, he oversaw the largest expansion of the Border Patrol in its 88-year history, doubling its size to over 21,000 Agents. Prior to his becoming Chief of the Border Patrol, Mr. Aguilar was Chief Patrol Agent of the Tucson Sector the largest and most active Border Patrol Sector in the nation.
His leadership has earned him numerous awards, including the Presidential Rank Award in 2008, the President's Meritorious Excellence Award in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal, the Washington Homeland Security Roundtable Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement Lifetime Achievement Award. Aguilar retired from government service on March 31, 2013 after a 35-year career with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Mr. Aguilar holds an associate degree in accounting from Laredo Community College and attended Laredo State University and the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.