As the Bush administration wound down its operations prior to Obama’s inauguration last January 20, the outgoing president announced the appointment of the Acting Deputy Director for Supply Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy as the new Acting Director. Patrick Ward will temporarily replace incumbent director John Walters, whose stint as ONDCP Director is co-terminus with the man who put him there.
Patrick Ward is a former Air Force officer who joined the supply reduction team in 2005. He was eventually appointed as Acting Deputy Director for the team in December 2007.
In his former role, Ward was responsible for curbing the supply of illegal drugs in the US. Among his new responsibilities, at least until after President Obama names his successor, will be to provide “executive leadership in the interagency and international environment” and handle the “development of national policy and strategy, focusing and overseeing all U.S. programs and activities involved in achieving the supply reduction goals of the National Drug Control Strategy, and countering the nexus between illegal drugs and terrorism.”
Who the directorship of the ONDCP will eventually go to is still unclear. Obama has named almost all the members of his Cabinet, but has yet to show any signs of where the ONDCP is headed and to whose hands it will go under his administration.
There is speculation that two people are being considered for the job. Representative Jim Ramstad, a Republican from Minnesota, is said to be a contender for the position, as is former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townshend.
The Obama transition team at the ONDCP, however, is not letting slip any hints as far as the nomination process for the director is concerned, as well as the timeframe for the choosing of the successful candidate. This transition team officially ended their work on Inauguration Day.