An FBI veteran was named Monday to head the U.S. Border Patrol, a departure from the historical practice of picking someone who has risen through the ranks.

Mark Morgan, who briefly led the internal affairs department at the Border Patrol’s parent agency, will oversee a multibillion-dollar annual budget as he runs the agency in the crosshairs of the national debate about border security and immigration.

His selection didn’t reflect lack of confidence in the Border Patrol’s leadership or performance, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske emphasized.

Almost all federal law enforcement agencies — from the Coast Guard to the Drug Enforcement Administration — had outsiders take over at one time, Kerlikowske said.