The Department of Justice (DOJ) doesn't make the laws, it just enforces them. The DOJ, one of 15 federal executive departments, is charged with enforcing federal law, defending the rights of US citizens, and representing the legal interests of the US government. The department covers both civil and criminal areas of federal law and is involved in everything from prosecuting offenders of antitrust laws to investigating organized crime. With the US Attorney General at its helm, the DOJ comprises more than 50 separate agencies, including the
. It has an annual budget in excess of $27 billion.
Eric Holder was appointed the 82nd US Attorney General in 2009. Prior to his appointment, Holder was a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and Deputy Attorney General of the US.
Over the years, the structure of the DOJ has changed with the addition of a Deputy Attorney General, Associate Attorney General, Assistant Attorneys General, and the formation of Divisions and components. James Cole was sworn in as the Deputy Attorney General in January 2011.
In its 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, the DOJ laid out three broad goals: prevent terrorism and promote the nation's security, prevent crime and protect the rights of the American people, and ensure and support the fair and impartial administration of justice. Furthermore, shorter-term (12-24 months) priority goals include providing better information to the US intelligence community, reducing gang violence, preventing financial and healthcare fraud, and protecting the vulnerable from child exploitation and civil rights abuses.