US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Archived Content

In an effort to keep CBP.gov current, the archive contains content from a previous administration or is otherwise outdated.

Defense Association Honors CBP, 3 Leaders for Service, Sacrifice

Release Date: 
March 12, 2010

"Every day our nation is watched over by the tireless effort of the men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection," said Rich Cooper of the association. "Our division is inherently proud to highlight their tremendous service and sacrifice and to recognize some of their distinguished leaders for answering the call of duty to the homeland."

The organization further specified three CBP individuals for distinguished leadership to CBP, David Aguilar, acting deputy commissioner; Jayson Ahern, former acting commissioner who recently ended a 30-year career in federal law enforcement; and Gus De La Vina, a former Border Patrol chief who passed away last year.

The National Defense Industrial Association is a leading defense industry association promoting national security and providing a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. (NDIA)

Wording of the citations are:

Customs and Border Protection

From the first days of the American republic, the United States has been fortunate to have in its service tireless patriots who have watched over our borders and ports of entry ensuring that commerce and security prevail. As one of the world's largest law enforcement organizations, the men and women of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's, Customs and Border Protection have faced countless challenges and given immeasurable sacrifice to the performance of their duties on the land, sea and air.

In serving the unique needs of some of the most complex and dynamic border and security operations in the world, countless examples of known and unknown heroism have been performed. Every American citizen and enterprise has been served by the character, bravery, integrity and initiative that Customs officers and Border Patrol agents have provided daily for our nation's security and prosperity. Without them, the rights and liberties promised by our Founders would not be the treasures that are passed to succeeding generations.

For these reasons and more, the National Defense Industrial Association's Homeland Security Division is honored to present its highest honor, the "America Secure Award" to the men and women of the Customs and Border Protection Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

David V. Aguilar

Acting CBP Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar at podium.

Acting CBP Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar accepts award on behalf of the men and women of CBP. He also received an individual award for his career contributions.

For his superb leadership of the United States of America's Customs and Border Protection Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. From Border Patrol Agent, to Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, to (Acting) Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Directorate, David Aguilar's distinguished public service career is testament to the character, strength and integrity of the men and women who protect our nation's borders.

During his accomplished tenure, the U.S. Border Patrol has more than doubled in size while being forced to address new and ever evolving threats. As one of our nation's most pre-eminent homeland security leaders, he has worked to make sure the men and women he leads are prepared to safeguard commerce, community and citizenry while having the resources, training and technologies to perform their duties in the most challenging of environments.

His collective efforts have resulted in the establishment of new and significant foundations upon which the homeland's leaders can better prepare, protect and defend against all challenges. Mr. Aguilar's unwavering dedication, character, and enthusiasm have ensured that eternal vigilance and dedication to duty remain the hallmark of the U.S. Border Patrol and those who wear its uniform.

His commitment to a true partnering relationship between government and industry is in keeping with the values and ideals of the National Defense Industrial Association and are deserving of recognition. For these reasons and more, the National Defense Industrial Association's Homeland Security Division is honored to present its highest honor, the "America Secure Award" to David V. Aguilar.

Jayson P. Ahern

Jayson P. Ahern received award from Bob Kelly of NDIA.

Bob Kelly of NDIA presents an award for career contributions to former acting CBP Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern.

For his superb leadership of Customs and Border Protection, Mr. Ahern's leadership and stewardship of CBP since its transition from the Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Agriculture to the Department of Homeland Security has had a direct positive impact on the building of a more secure and resilient American homeland.

Throughout his accomplished career with CBP, Mr. Ahern has progressed through every rank in the field to headquarters culminating as the Deputy Commissioner of CBP and serviced as the Acting Commissioner of CBP for almost a year. Mr. Ahern's unwavering dedication, character, enthusiasm and integrity have ensured that CBP is stronger agency today and a leading component of the Department of Homeland Security.

His commitment to a true partnering relationship between government and industry is in keeping with the values and ideals of the National Defense Industrial Association and are deserving of recognition. For these reasons and more, the National Defense Industrial Association's Homeland Security Division is honored to present its highest honor, the "America Secure Award" to Jayson P. Ahern.

Gustavo De La Vina (posthumously)

Photograph of late Border Patrol Chief Gustavo De La Vina.

For his superb leadership in protecting this nation's borders and providing security to its people.

Chief Gustavo De la Vina served proudly for 34 years as a member of the Patrol where he was an innovator, developer, and implementer of strategies that strengthened the control of our borders. Chief De La Vina or "Gus" as he was affectionately known by his leaders, colleagues and the men and women of the Patrol alike was the principal advisor on border issues to two American Presidents, two United States Attorney Generals, and the first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Chief De La Vina was appointed Chief of the USBP in December of 1997 after an illustrious career, most notably, as the Chief of the USBP Academy, Chief Patrol Agent of the San Diego Sector, one of our nation's largest sectors, and Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) Western Region.

His numerous contributions over this period included originating the proactive border enforcement philosophy which focuses on deterrence instead of interdiction. In 1998, he revealed his humanitarian ideals by creating the Border Safety Initiative, which relies on close cooperation from the Mexican government and uses public service announcements on both sides of the border to educate would-be immigrants of the dangers of illegal crossings. Shortly after the attacks of 9/11, Chief De La Vina dispatched U.S. Border Patrol Agents to America's major airports to bolster the security and confidence of our people in the ability of our government to protect them. One of his lasting legacies will be the flawless transition he implemented to move the USBP from the INS to Customs and Border Protection in the Department of Homeland Security. Chief De La Vina retired from the USBP July 1, 2004.

His commitment to a true partnering relationship between government and industry is in keeping with the values and ideals of the National Defense Industrial Association and are deserving of recognition. For these reasons and more, the National Defense Industrial Association's Homeland Security Division is honored to present its highest honor, the "America Secure Award" to Chief Gustavo De La Vina.

Last modified: 
February 8, 2017