The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

First-Year Fellow Mentor: Michael Breen '02

FYF Mentor

Class of 2018 First-Year Fellow, Riley Collins, with supervisor, Andrew Lavigne, at the Truman Naitonal Security Project, Center for National Policy.

Article Type 

The First-Year Fellows program is a unique opportunity for first-year students to engage meaningfully in public policy early in their Dartmouth careers. Each year, around 20 students are selected and placed in fellowships with Dartmouth alumni in Washington, D.C., who are willing to take on a significant mentoring role.
“I loved my time at Dartmouth, and remain grateful to the College for giving me a terrific foundation for a career in national security and public service. This program is the perfect win-win: my organization gets some great talent, and the Fellows get a worthwhile and challenging experience early on in their careers. I'm grateful for the opportunity to help support the next generation of service-driven students at Big Green.” -Michael Breen '02

Michael Breen is the Executive Director of the Truman National Security Project and the Center for National Policy. He has been a Truman Fellow since 2010, and was one of the original members of Operation Free in 2009. Breen frequently testifies before Congress and regularly briefs government officials, elected leaders, and candidates on security issues His commentary and analysys has been featured in numerous national media outlets, including CNN's The Situation Room and Erin Burnett Outront, FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, and Time Magazine.

A former U.S. Army Officer, Breen served in tactical and operational assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served in Iraq with 1-6 Infantry, 1st Armored Division (2003-2004), where he coordinated governance and essential services for over 300,000 civilians as acting "mayor" of two Baghdad neighborhoods. In Afghanistan, Breen led paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Kunar Province (2005-2006), taking part in numerous combat operations in the Korengal and Pech valleys. At the operational level, he served as Effects Based Operations Officer for Combined Joint Task Force 76 and Targeting Officer for 1st Armored Division.

After leaving the military, Breen clerked for the Office of White House Counsel, where he focused on national security matters and assisted with the confirmation of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. He is a co-founder of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, an international organization that provides safe passage and new beginnings for Iraqi refugees. Through IRAP, Mike worked with at-risk refugees on the ground in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, including former US military interpreters, LGBT populations, human trafficking survivors, and religious minorities, and helped establish the first clinical legal education program in the history of Jordan. He now serves on IRAP's Board, as well as the Board of Yellow Ribbons United, a foundation that leverages the platform of professional football and the resources of corporate America to serve the military community.

Breen holds a BA in Government from Dartmouth College and a JD from Yale Law School, having studied in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. An avid outdoorsman and former ice climbing instructor, Breen is a proud New Hampshire native and a member of the NH Bar Association. He lives in Washington with his wife, Susannah Stevens.

Michael Breen has mentored the following First-Year Fellows:

  • Riley Collins '18
  • Ben Rutan '17
  • Reid Aronstein '16
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences