For the first 17 years of her career, Janet Breslin-Smith served in the United States Senate on the staffs of Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Donald Stewart and Patrick Leahy. From 1980 to 1992, she was Legislative Director for Senator Leahy and then became Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Agriculture Committee under his chairmanship.
In 1992, she joined the faculty of the National War College, part of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. She is currently chair of the department of national security strategy at the college and teaches courses on the national security policy process and congress, politics and national security. The National War College is a unique graduate program in professional military education, established by General Dwight Eisenhower and other post World War II leaders to enhance the strategic analysis of senior military and civilian officials in the United States Government. The College has an enrollment of over 200 students, including 25 international fellows. She is currently writing and teaching about the impact of 9/11 on teaching strategy in the United States.
She earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.A. from the University of Southern California. She lived in Santiago, Chile in 1973 and in Okinawa, Japan from 1998 to 2000.