For the first 17 years of her career, Janet Breslin-Smith served on the staffs of U.S. Senators Lloyd Bentsen, Donald Stewart, and Patrick Leahy. From 1980 to 1992, she was Legislative Director for Senator Leahy and served as Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Agriculture Committee under his chairmanship.
In 1992 she joined the faculty of the National War College, which is part of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. The National War College is a unique graduate program in professional military education established by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and other post-World War II leaders to enhance the strategic analytical skills 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 teaches courses on strategy and strategic logic, the national security policy process, Congress, and foreign policy.
Breslin-Smith earned a PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles and a BA from the University of Southern California. She lived in Santiago, Chile, in 1973 and in Okinawa, Japan, from 1998 to 2000.
Her husband Jim Smith is also a CWA participant.