Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl, D.Phil.
(USA, Retired, USMA 1988)

Leading Organizational Change, Leadership & Leader Development, Strategy, Counterinsurgency

Dr. Nagl has nearly 25 years of leadership experience in the United States, abroad, and in combat.  He has served as President of the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC; as a member of the Defense Policy Board for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; as a Visiting Professor of War Studies at King’s College London; as an Army battalion commander at Fort Riley, Kansas; as a professor at West Point and at Georgetown University; and in combat in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm.  He served as a military assistant to Deputy Secretaries of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Gordon England.  He has directed major studies on officership during a period of strategic change; on the role of the National Guard and Reserve in modern warfare; and on the role of private contractors on the battlefield.  He has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on US policy in Afghanistan and before the Commission on Wartime Contracting. He was appointed to serve on the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel (the Hadley/Perry Commission). He serves on the board of advisors of a major corporation, a non-profit service organization, and several defense policy journals. 

Dr. Nagl has lectured domestically and internationally at military war colleges, the Pentagon's Joint Staff and Defense Policy Board, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, major universities, intelligence agencies, and business forums.

Scholarly Work/Publications/Awards:
His research interests center on leading organizational change during times of strategic ferment. Dr. Nagl is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and helped General David Petraeus author the US Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which helped reshape how the American military viewed combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Nagl has authored or co-authored dozens of scholarly works published across an array of academic and military publications, including: The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Parameters, Military Review, Joint Force Quarterly, Armed Forces Journal, The Washington Quarterly, and Democracy, among others. He was profiled in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Magazine.  Dr. Nagl has appeared on The News Hour with Jim Leher, National Public Radio, 60 Minutes, Washington Journal, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.


D.Phil., International Relations, Oxford University
M.Phil., International Relations, Oxford University
MMAS, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth Kansas (Marshall Award)
B.S., U.S. Military Academy (Distinguished Cadet, Rhodes Scholarship)


Council on Foreign Relations, International Institute of Strategic Studies, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Diplomatic Finnish Sauna Society