Michael Darrah

Military Fellow, International Security Program

Mike Darrah is a military fellow with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He is a commander and aviator in the U.S. Coast Guard and came to CSIS from Sector Humboldt Bay, where he served as deputy sector commander, overseeing all Coast Guard operations in the northern quarter of California. From 2017–2020, he was in the Office of Counterterrorism & Defense Operations at Coast Guard Headquarters. There he managed Aviation Special Missions Policy, including the Coast Guard’s air defense missions in support of North American Aerospace Defense Command as well as the development of the Department of Homeland Security's first-ever counter-unmanned aircraft systems capabilities in a joint operation between the Coast Guard and the Secret Service. His previous tours included Air Station Barbers Point Hawaii, Air Station New Orleans, and Air Station Atlantic City. He has accumulated over 3,000 hours as an aircraft commander and instructor in the MH-65 helicopter, has deployed aboard ship to China, Russia, Japan, and the Caribbean, and has flown air security for the National Capitol Region and the president. Before flight school he served as a deck watch officer and boarding officer aboard USCGC THETIS homeported in Key West, FL. Mike holds a BA in electrical engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, an MBA from George Mason University, and an MA in defense and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He is a graduate of Advanced Helicopter Rescue School, High-Altitude Army Aviation Training School, and the USCG Leadership Development Center.