Richard J. Baum

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Richard Baum
Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
In office
March 28, 2017 – February 9, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byKemp Chester (Acting)
Succeeded byJim Carroll (Acting)
Personal details
Political partyRepublican[1]
EducationGeorgetown University (BA, MA)
University of Colorado, Denver (MPA)

Richard J. Baum is an American public official who served as the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) from March 2017 to February 2018.


Baum holds a B.A. in Government, International Affairs and Public Policy (1987) and a M.A. in National Security Studies, both from Georgetown University (1991), as well as a M.P.A. from the University of Colorado Denver (2004).[2]


Baum has served in the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) through four presidential administrations. After joining ONDCP in 1997, Baum has served in various roles. As Director of ONDCP's International Division he co-led the development of documents such as the National Drug Control Strategy, the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy, the Synthetic Drug Action Plan, and the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.[3] Baum has worked on national security and domestic drug policy issues. He served in the Office of Legislative Affairs and represented the United States at the meeting of the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria as Chief of the International Division at ONDCP.[4] Baum is an McCourt School of Public Policy Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, where he teaches a class called 'The War on Drugs: Causes, Consequences and Alternatives'.[5] Baum also served as minority staff director at the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.[6]

On 6 February 2018 The New York Times reported that Baum had "been kept out of key White House meetings" and was excluded from budget negotiations.[7] He was replaced as acting director by James W. Carroll three days later.[8]

Public appearances[edit]

In May 2017, Baum informed the staff of the Office of National Drug Control Policy of the budget cuts the new administration had proposed in an internal review for the Office. He described the cuts in this draw, which would have amounted to about 94% of the administration's budget to fight drug abuse in the midst of the worst drug crisis in American history,[9] as "frankly heartbreaking" and promised his colleagues to seek a discussion on this topic with the White House leadership.[10] On 17 May 2017, an article of Baum was published in "The Hill", arguing that a close cooperation with Colombia as key producer of cocaine was imperative to fight the surge in coca production in the Latin American country and the resulting flooding of the U.S. market with cocaine.[11] Later in May he announced that President Trump’s budget overall requests for the fiscal year 2018 for the fight against drugs would amount to $27.8 billion, which constituted an increase at least over the 2017 continuing resolution level.[12] The budget request for the national drug policy office would be just under $368.6 million, which would be 5% less than the office’s budget for 2017.[13]

In a White House Oversight Committee hearing in late July 2017, Baum announced the release of an updated national drug control strategy around the time of the president’s annual budget release in February 2018. The comprehensive strategy will encompass traditional approaches of drug prevention and addiction treatment, but also border control - and law enforcement activities to tackle all aspects of the drug problem.[14]

Private life[edit]

Baum lives in Falls Church, Virginia. He is married and has two children.[3]


  1. [1]
  2. "WFAD 2014 Speakers". World Federation Against Drugs. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Richard Baum Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy" (PDF). Office of National Drug Control Policy. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  4. "Trump Administration designates new Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy". International Drug Policy Consortium. 30 March 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  5. "Adjunct Professor Richard Baum To Lead White House Office of Drug Control Policy". McCourt School of Public Policy. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  6. "Select Committee on narcotics abuse and control house of representatives" (PDF). National Criminal Justice Reference Service. 30 September 1988. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  7. "Trump Plan to Move Drug Prevention Program to Justice Dept. Prompts Protests". The New York Times. 6 February 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  8. "President Donald J. Trump Announces Appointments for the Executive Office of the President". The White House. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  9. "Trey Gowdy demands opioid strategy from Office of National Drug Control Policy". Washington Examiner. 26 July 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  10. "Leaked Document Indicates Big Proposed Cuts To Drug Czar's Office". NPR. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  11. "Cocaine production is on the rise, here's how we stop it". The Hill. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  12. "President Trump's First Budget Commits Significant Resources to Fight the Opioid Epidemic". White House. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  13. "Raimondo signs executive order to deter opioid overdoses". the Providence Journal. 12 July 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  14. "Interim opioid report due today". Politico. 31 July 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
Political offices
Preceded by
Kemp Chester
Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

Succeeded by
James W. Carroll

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