On Thursday, U.S. Central Command's (CENTCOM's) senior enlisted leader presented U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton with a certificate of appreciation for ICE's work in recruiting, hiring and employing veterans.
During the presentation ceremony, held at ICE's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Army Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe thanked Morton for the agency's active role in hiring veterans. Grippe talked about the ties between the U.S. military and ICE.
"As a nation, we are cross-walking what is virtually a ready-made agent – from service at the tactical operation level, usually overseas in a combat operation, into law enforcement right here in the United States," said Grippe. "It's a perfect match."
ICE surpassed two of its veteran hiring goals in fiscal year 2012. The target was to hire 30 percent of new employees from the population of veterans. Among the 30 percent, a little more than 8 percent were to be veterans with disabilities.
ICE exceeded these goals. Close to 50 percent of ICE's new hires were veterans, and more than 18 percent of that number were disabled veterans.
ICE also supports veterans through Operation Warfighter, a program designed to recruit recovering service members to fulfill temporary assignments. The agency has maintained an average of 50 Operation Warfighter interns who serve in ICE offices across the country. Twenty of these veterans have been transitioned to full-time employment.
Grippe also talked about how ICE and the U.S. military complement one another and mentioned ICE's counter proliferations and terrorism investigations.
"The intel that you generate and the intel that we generate lends that much more peace and security in our nation," said Grippe. "You operate in 50 states and in 47 nations around the world. Your organization also helps bring peace and security to our partner nations."
The majority of the veterans ICE hired in FY 2012 served in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are two of the 20 Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries within CENTCOM's area of responsibility.
The certificate of appreciation bears the signature of Grippe and the commander of CENTCOM, Marine Corps General James N. Mattis.
ICE leaders in attendance stood by as Grippe read the words written on the certificate:
"Thank you for supporting our U.S. Armed Forces and assisting service members in their transition to civil service in defense of our borders. Your exemplary dedication to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is in keeping with the highest traditions of selfless service. Your emphasized efforts to combat child exploitation and border crimes shows you are a true American patriot. Your service is greatly appreciated."
Morton said, "Not only have we been enthusiastic supporters of veterans, but we're going to continue to be enthusiastic supporters because it's the right thing to do."