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Historical Biography

John C. Cruden

John C. Cruden, AAG, ENRD
John C. Cruden
34th Assistant Attorney General, ENRD, -

Early History/Schooling:
John Charles Cruden was born in Topeka, Kansas on February 23, 1946. He was raised in Michigan and is a graduate of the United States Military Academy (B.S), University of Santa. Clara (J.D., summa cum laude), and University of Virginia (M.A., honors). His military education includes being a Fellow, Army War College, and the Command and General Staff College.

Tenure as AAG:
President Obama nominated Cruden to be Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division on December 19, 2013. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 16, 2014 and sworn in on January 5, 2015. During his ENRD service, Cruden supervised all federal civil environmental litigation involving agencies of the United States, and he personally litigated and led settlement negotiations in numerous environmental cases. Of note, Cruden oversaw the historic settlements with BP in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill matter and VW in the illegally emissions "defeat device" case.

Before becoming Assistant Attorney General, Cruden served as a career executive with ENRD, first as the Chief of ENRD's Environmental Enforcement Section, and later as Deputy Assistant Attorney General. After retiring as a career civil servant, but before becoming AAG, Cruden served as president of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI).

After serving as AAG, Cruden was elected President of the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) and also became a principal in the D.C. offices of Beveridge and Diamond.

Before joining the Department of Justice, John was the Chief Legislative Counsel of the U.S. Army. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, John served in Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces units in Germany and Vietnam. His subsequent military assignments include as a criminal prosecutor in Germany and civil trial lawyer in the Pentagon; Chief of Litigation Branch, Europe; General Counsel, Defense Nuclear Agency; Staff Judge Advocate in Germany; and Director of Administrative and Civil Law, Judge Advocate General's School, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Updated June 8, 2023