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Abstract: When General Barry McCaffrey, a decorated war hero, agrees to take command of the U.S. office of National Drug Control Policy, he encounters an office in such disarray that some in Congress doubt whether it should continue to exist. He boasts strong support from the White House--itself desperate to have the political credibility of a stern military man to bolster its much-criticized previous anti-drug efforts. But McCaffrey faces daunting challenges. With little direct authority over anti-drug programs, the nation's so-called "drug czar" must decide whether to emphasize treatment, prevention or interdiction, at the same time deciding how best to restore the luster of an ineffective and inefficient office.
Learning Objective: The case is useful both for discussions of political management and agenda-setting, as well as drug policy issues themselves.