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Department of Justice (DOJ)

Headquarters: 445 12th St. SW
Washington, DC 20554
Phone: 888-225-5322
Employees: 114,903
Attorney General: Eric Holder

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The mission of the Department of Justice is to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

The DOJ is comprised of 42 components, which cover a variety of responsibilities. DOJ prosecutes federal law offenders and represents the U.S. Government in court; its attorneys represent the rights and interests of the American people and enforce federal criminal and civil laws, including antitrust, civil rights, environmental and tax laws; its immigration judges ensure speedy justice for detainees; its special agents investigate organized and violent crime, illegal drugs, gun and explosives violations; its deputy marshals protect the federal judiciary, apprehend fugitives and transport persons in federal custody; its correctional officers confine convicted federal offenders and detain illegal immigrants. DOJ also provides grants and training to state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners; and brings together national security, counterterrorism, counterintelligence and foreign intelligence surveillance operations under a single authority.

The agencies that make up the Department of Justice include: FBI, Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Attorneys, Drug Enforcement Administration, ATF and National Security Division. Go here for the complete list.

The agency has submitted a budget of $28.2 billion for Fiscal Year 2012, a 1.7% increase. DOJ’s FY 2012 request includes 114,903 authorized positions (direct only), which is an increase of 2,905 positions over the 2011 level.

The workforce is comprised of: Agents (over 26,000 or 24%); Attorneys (nearly 11,000 or 10%); Correctional Officers (over 20,000 or 18%); Intelligence Analysts (over 4,000 or 4%); and Other (over 50,000 or 44%). "Other" includes administrative, clerical, analysts, information technology specialists, legal services, and security specialists. Of the 114,903 authorized positions, 1,116 are located in foreign countries.


The Judiciary Act of 1789, ch. 20, sec. 35, 1 Stat. 73, 92-93 (1789) created the Office of the Attorney General. Originally a one-person part-time position, the Attorney General was to be "learned in the law" with the duty "to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments, touching any matters that may concern their departments." The workload quickly became too much for one person, necessitating the hiring of several assistants for the Attorney General. With an increasing amount of work to be done, private attorneys were retained to work on cases.

In 1870, after the post-Civil War increase in the amount of litigation involving the United States necessitated the very expensive retention of a large number of private attorneys to handle the workload, a concerned Congress passed the Act to Establish the Department of Justice, ch. 150, 16 Stat. 162 (1870) setting it up as "an executive department of the government of the United States" with the Attorney General as its head. Officially coming into existence on July 1, 1870, the Department of Justice, pursuant to the 1870 Act, was to handle the legal business of the United States. The Act gave the Department control over all criminal prosecutions and civil suits in which the United States had an interest. In addition, the Act gave the Attorney General and the Department control over federal law enforcement. To assist the Attorney General, the 1870 Act created the Office of the Solicitor General.

The 1870 Act is the foundation upon which the Department of Justice still rests. However, the structure of the Department of Justice has changed over the years, with the addition of the Deputy Attorneys General and the formation of the Divisions. Unchanged is the steadily increasing workload of the Department. It has become the world's largest law office and the central agency for enforcement of federal laws.

Updated September 6, 2011