Leah Bolger joined the U.S. Navy in 1980 and received her commission as an Ensign from Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. As an unrestricted line officer, she served in a variety of capacities including anti-submarine warfare, security assistance, operational test and evaluation, and administration. Her duty stations included such disparate locations as Iceland, Bermuda, Japan and Tunisia, as well as stateside tours in Texas, Rhode Island and Virginia. She received her master's degree in national security and strategic affairs from the Naval War College, and served as a Military Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Strategic Studies Program. She retired from active duty service in July 2000 at the rank of Commander.