Skip to content

IEM Leadership


Paul Knierim

Senior Advisor for Law Enforcement

Paul Knierim, an esteemed veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration, has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement and intelligence, marked by notable accomplishments in domestic and international contexts. His career with the Administration began in 1991 as a Special Agent in the Denver Field Division. He has seen him serve with distinction across various locations, including Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Florida, and Texas. Paul’s expertise in leading complex global investigations and intelligence assessments has been a cornerstone of his career, showcasing his proficiency in risk and crisis management, strategic planning, and law enforcement team building.

In 2015, Paul was appointed Deputy Chief of Operations, Office of Special Projects, and later became Deputy Chief of Operations, Office of Global Enforcement in 2017. His leadership skills were further recognized when he served as Acting Chief of Operations in 2019. Subsequently, Paul was appointed Assistant Administrator and Chief of Intelligence, a role in which he served as the principal advisor to the Administrator on all matters related to the Administration’s global drug intelligence program. His responsibilities in this position underscored his ability to effectively manage complex worldwide intelligence programs and influence strategic operational priorities.

Upon retirement, Knierim left a legacy of transformative leadership and strategic innovation. During his tenure, he enhanced the impact and effectiveness of the Global Intelligence Program, facilitated international law enforcement collaboration, and led over 1,100 intelligence professionals. His efforts in restructuring organizational priorities and streamlining processes significantly bolstered intelligence capabilities domestically and overseas.

Paul’s remarkable contributions also extended to his role as Deputy Chief of Operations, where he improved investigative capabilities and directed vital initiatives such as the International Drug Enforcement Conferences, solidifying international partnerships and expanding investigative capacities globally. His leadership in crisis and critical incident planning, compliance, and security for worldwide Administration operations demonstrates his comprehensive understanding of global law enforcement challenges.

Paul is a University of Utah graduate with a bachelor’s degree and a certificate in criminology and corrections. His career is decorated with numerous awards and commendations, reflecting his exceptional service. Fluent in English and Spanish, Paul has been and continues to be a pivotal figure in shaping and executing law enforcement and intelligence strategies, both domestically and internationally, throughout his distinguished career.

Paul Knierim

About IEM