Michael Crawford (Australia)

Master of International Customs Law and Administration (MICLA) – March 2012

Current Job Position:

My current role is Director, Future Operating Concepts for the Maritime Operations Support Division of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.  In this role I lead or contribute to strategic policy development and planning related to Australia’s civil maritime security regime within the overarching Australian national security architecture.  I also support much broader efforts to improve maritime security arrangements in the Pacific Islands Region.

My time studying with the CCES, and completing the MICLA course, has manifested in a number of benefits that range from being specific to more general in nature.  The specific advantages include the establishment of a sound knowledge foundation of customs’ enduring principles and common functions together with an appreciation of particular instruments necessary for effective planning, implementation of initiatives or the provision of advice.  An improved capacity to navigate international law and agreements has also been highly useful in my current role.

More broadly, the CCES and the MICLA course helps draw together the vast majority of strings relevant to a modern customs administration and the contemporary customs professional. This serves to put pieces of the global customs jigsaw into place, even for those who may have greater “hands on” experience, and situates the role of customs in a broader government context.  From my experience, this understanding is fundamentally important to effectively manage organisational development in an environment that sees customs administrations increasingly responsible for, not only traditional customs functions, but the delivery of a broader range of border management services to Government, the community, industry and other agencies.

While there have been some notable advances in promoting customs professionalism, including the establishment of the International Network of Customs Universities and Partnership In Customs Academic Research and Development, there needs to be ongoing effort on the part of administrations to further build momentum for reform and improvement that is also supported by a critical mass of professional officers/leaders.  As important is the ability for officers to engage with their peers across the international customs and border community.

As customs professionals (and CCES alumni), we should take what opportunities we can to promote this ethos within our respective administrations and with our colleagues and staff – particularly during periods of financial constraint when the need for effectiveness, efficiency and innovation is so much more acute.

To this end, I welcome any opportunity to assist or support members of the alumni network in any way I can.