Structure and Operation - Sample Essay

In Washington, D. C. the FBI has its headquarters located, called “The J. Edgar Hoover Building”, which was named after the first FBI director who served the longest term ever. The headquarters houses quite a number of offices, such as the “Office of Public and Congressional Affairs, the Office of Professional Responsibility, the Office of the General Counsel, and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity”.

The bureau is headed by a director, who must be nominated by the president, but directly responsible to the attorney general of the United States. The senate must screen and confirm the director before installation and directors can only serve a maximum of ten years which is not subject to removal in the event of election of a new president. The bureau has 56 other network offices in virtually all the major cities across the United States and one field office in Puerto Rico to enhance its work.

These 56 field office is also connected with over 400 satellite offices in several small cities called “resident agencies”. (Timeline of FBI History) Apart from the field in Puerto Rico, the FBI also has over 45 foreign offices known as “Legal attache offices” at United States embassies and consulates. The bureau has a large number of staff with almost 28,000 personnel. Out of which approximately 12,000 are trained agents, with skills and authority to investigate, arrest and use fire arms.

The remaining 16,000 staffs are a mixture of several other types of staff such as clerical officers and other professionals, trained in various skills, amongst which we have psychologists, chemists, computer specialists, vast in software and hardware, language specialists, attorneys etc. Each division is headed by an assistant director, with 4 executive assistant directors assigned to supervise groups of divisions. The bureau’s budget annually is “approximately $3 billion dollars” which must be appropriated by the United States Congress. (Frum, 2000)

The FBI Laboratory was not included in the J. Edgar Hoover Building until 1974. All major physical and biological works are conducted in the lab, most especially the DNA. Other highly sensitive works done in the lab include computer analysis, evidence response, firearms and tool marks, forensic, both audio and video, latent prints, special photographic analysis to mention only but few. These services of the FBI laboratory are available to several states, local and even international agencies free of charge in as much as any of these services will not be used against the United State.

This research will be incomplete without mentioning the bureau’s training academy located at Quantico at Virginia. This is not only a training ground for new agents, it is also an extension of FBI’s main laboratory. It also serves as the base of communication and computer laboratory of the FBI. The training of new agents spans a period of 21 weeks, with extensive training courses on firearms and other skills needed to execute their various tasks in future.

The academy also has several sub units, such as the Firearms unit, practical application unit etc, to ensure a cognate training for all new agents. It was officially opened in 1972. (Frum, 2000). The bureau has its latest division in 1995, which is the criminal justice services division (CJIS). This new division is located in Clarksburg in West Virginia, occupying a relatively small space, with approximately the length of three football fields joined together. This new division is basically a “warehouse of information”.

It is the “National Crime Information Centre” (NCIC), the home of highly sophisticated information equipments. Fingerprints Identification and other highly skilled activities are carried out in there. The FBI does not only work with several other Federal agencies, such as the U. S. Coast Guard and CIA. etc, it also provides many of its facilities to other agencies and states, which they use for their own investigation. Apart from the FBI, no other agency has so much investigative autonomy except the “Immigration and Customs Enforcement” (ICE).

However, this agency only shares an amount of investigative power with the FBI. The FBI still exercises the most investigative authority in the United State. The FBI plays a frontal role in most of the federal criminal investigations. Hence, when the United States experienced the fate of the September 11 world trade centre attack, the FBI was conferred with the responsibility of investigating the attackers of the United States, although it worked with other federal agents. (Frum, 2000)