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Breckenridge named provost at US Army War College

Monday, April 3, 2017

James Breckenridge, Ph.D., dean of the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences at Mercyhurst University, has taken the position of provost at the United States Army War College (USAWC) in Carlisle. The USAWC provides graduate-level instruction to senior military officers and civilians to prepare them for senior leadership assignments and responsibilities.

Breckenridge was selected by an executive search committee to serve as the chief academic officer for the dual mission of strategic education and strategic ideas at the Army’s senior service college and the Army’s Center for Strategy Education. 

As the USAWC’s second provost, Breckenridge will assume his duties this summer, succeeding retired Brig. Gen. Lance Betros, Ph.D., who served as provost since 2012. 

“Jim has been the driving force behind the growth of our intelligence studies program, which is widely respected around the world as the largest and most enduring initiative of its kind in academia,” said Mercyhurst President Michael Victor. “As a college community, we owe him a debt of gratitude. I know I speak for all of us when I extend my congratulations on this outstanding accomplishment.”

Breckenridge is a retired U.S. Army officer with more than 22 years of experience in a variety of operations, intelligence and teaching assignments, including nine years of overseas duty in Europe and the Middle East. During his military career, his leadership responsibilities ranged from commanding the U.S. Army’s first unit to engage in combat since the Vietnam War (in Beirut, Lebanon, 1983) to serving as a professor of Middle Eastern history and course director for the world history program at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

In accepting his new position, Breckenridge said, “I look forward to concluding the last chapter of my career by fulfilling a key mission for our nation; producing our next generation of strategic leaders. The charge is challenging but extraordinarily exciting and meaningful. "

Breckenridge has worked at Mercyhurst in varying capacities for nearly two decades, from admissions director to dean of the university’s business school to executive director of the Institute for Intelligence Studies. He was appointed the first chair of the Department of Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst, where he designed the curricular requirements and gained accreditation for the major in intelligence studies in 2002, the graduate program in applied intelligence in 2004, and the graduate certificate program in 2005.

During his Mercyhurst tenure, Breckenridge led a number of pioneering collaborations, including participation in an international security and intelligence program at the United Kingdom’s University of Cambridge; a curriculum sharing initiative with the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canada’s leading public safety educator; and other research and work-related initiatives with partners of the Mercyhurst in Ireland program. He also was largely responsible for forging a partnership with the iSchool at Syracuse University, providing Mercyhurst students the opportunity for accelerated study toward a Master of Science degree in information management.

The Global Intelligence Forum (GIF), hosted by Mercyhurst’s intelligence studies program biennially in Dungarvan, Ireland, is the brainchild of Breckenridge. The GIF is an international assembly of leading intelligence practitioners from national security, law enforcement, business, public health, technology and education, dedicated to capturing best practices and producing innovative strategies for addressing the world’s intelligence challenges.

In addition to his administrative and teaching duties at Mercyhurst, Breckenridge has taught courses in intelligence methods for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State.

Mercyhurst is conducting a national search through R.H. Perry & Associates to fill Breckenridge’s position and expects to interview candidates within the next two months.