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Abstract: In late 1995, General Barry McCaffrey--a hero of the Persian Gulf and Vietnam Wars and head of the US Army's Southern Command--was approached by the Clinton Administration to "consider" the job of "drug czar"--officially known as the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This organization and strategy case describes the assessment McCaffrey made of the office and its powers, as he considered what ultimately became a formal job offer. The case examines the "czar" position--i.e., one meant to orchestrate and coordinate policy amongst agencies, yet itself with limited line authority of its own. In addition, the case describes the political context which led the Clinton Administration to tap McCaffrey. The (B) case tracks McCaffrey's first year in office as he grapples with such issues as drug interdiction, medical marijuana, the certification of Mexico as a nation with an effective anti-drug strategy, and increased juvenile drug use, while attempting to develop the position's required national drug control strategy.
Learning Objective: The case allows for discussion of the utility of a "czar" position, and can support discussion of the ways in which political situations help or hinder these kinds of appointees.