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Visiting staff

Dr John Nagl

Visiting Professor

Center for a New American Security
Office: 202.457.9415
A Distinguished Graduate of West Point and a Rhodes Scholar, Dr John Nagl earned his doctorate from Oxford University, taught national security studies at West Point, and served as a Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Nagl also earned a Master of the Military Arts and Sciences Degree from the Command and General Staff College, where he received the George C. Marshall Award.

Areas of expertise

  • Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism
  • National security strategy
  • Organizational Learning and Adapting to Change
  • US military forces and operations


A retired US Army officer, Dr John Nagl's last assignment was as commander of the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor at Fort Riley, Kansas, training Transition Teams that embed with Iraqi and Afghan units. Nagl led a tank platoon in Operation Desert Storm and served as the operations officer of a tank battalion task force in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Nagl is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was awarded the Combat Action Badge by General James Mattis, USMC.


Dr John Nagl is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and was on the writing team that produced the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. His writing has been published in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, World Affairs, Parameters, Military Review, Joint Force Quarterly, Small Wars and Insurgencies, Armed Forces Journal, The American Oxonian, Armor Magazine, and The Field Artillery Journal. Media appearances include National Public Radio, 60 Minutes, Washington Journal, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and profiles in The New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal.
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