This week we take a closer look at the new Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Kemp Chester. We ask the tough questions: are the days of a federal drug czar are numbered, or will the agency transform itself for the Trump era?
On Friday, January Twentieth, the White House website underwent drastic alterations. Several sections were deleted entirely, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Fortunately, the National Archives preserved the site in its entirety, including publications, drug strategy reports, research, et cetera. The archived ONDCP website is at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/ondcp
Whatever the new administration decides it wants to do, ONDCP was created by an act of Congress so it will continue to exist. The new acting director is Kemp Chester, before ONDCP he had a career in military intelligence – oxymoron intended. His ONDCP bio is thankfully still available through the National Archives, at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/ondcp/kemp-chester
“Kemp Chester has been the Associate Director for the National Heroin Coordination Group at ONDCP since October 2015. Before coming to ONDCP, Mr. Chester was the Senior Director for National Security and Intelligence at a private sector consulting firm in Washington, D.C.. Prior to that, he retired from the Army after 27 years of service, his last tour being at the Defense Intelligence Agency where he was the Deputy Director for Intelligence of the Americas Regional Center and Chief of the Office of Counternarcotics Worldwide. Mr. Chester is a graduate of The Citadel and has Masters Degrees from the University of South Carolina, the National War College, the Naval College of Command and Staff, and the School for Advanced Military Studies."
Another official from the last administration is being kept on. Chuck Rosenberg, the Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, will continue to be the acting administrator. He too could end up being in that job for quite a while, we just don't know. A couple of weeks ago we heard portions of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which Rosenberg was testifying, it was a DEA oversight hearing. The segment we played was an exchange between Administrator Rosenberg and Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Beauregard as we all know has been nominated for Attorney General. They were certainly friendly in that hearing, I imagine Rosenberg is high up on Beauregard's short list.