Published: June 2010
Marisa Cochrane Sullivan ’07 joined the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington, D.C., shortly after graduation as the first full-time employee of the fledgling conservative think tank. A Boston College Presidential Scholar and international studies major (her senior thesis was titled “Free and Fair?: International Electoral Monitoring and International Political Reform in Sub-Saharan Africa”), Sullivan is now research manager at ISW, supervising a team of four research analysts in the study of political and security issues in Iraq and Afghanistan and “performing any tasks needed as ISW has expanded over the years,” she says.
In early 2009, Sullivan’s work at ISW was interrupted for three months when she took on the assignment of command historian for the Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF-I), the U.S.-led coalition of forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Based in Al-Faw Palace in Baghdad, Sullivan had nearly unfettered access to military personnel as well as to briefing papers, reports, and photographs. She sat in on classified meetings, including the morning sessions led by General Ray Odierno, the commander of MNF-I. The 40-page report that Sullivan produced is now part of the United States’ official classified history of the war in Iraq.