John Nagl, Ph.D., Class of 2002
Minerva Distinguished Research Professor, United States Naval Academy
“At the International Achievement Summit in London, I met a number of people who have since become friends — and served at the highest levels in the American government, in corporate America, and in the academy. Their friendship and service have been a source of continuing joy and inspiration.”
A Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy Class of 1988, John Nagl served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years. His last military assignment was as commander of the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor at Fort Riley, Kansas, training Transition Teams that embed with Iraqi and Afghan units. He led a tank platoon in Operation Desert Storm and served as the operations officer of a tank battalion task force in Operation Iraqi Freedom, earning the Combat Action Badge and the Bronze Star. Nagl taught national security studies at West Point’s Department of Social Sciences from 1997 until 2000, when he participated in the 2000 International Achievement Summit in London. He earned his Master of the Military Arts and Sciences Degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, where he received the George C. Marshall Award as the top graduate, and his doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Dr. Nagl is currently the Minerva Distinguished Research Professor at the US Naval Academy and the past president of the Center for a New American Security. He is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and was a member of the writing team that produced the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. His writings have also been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy, among others. He has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Magazine and has appeared as a guest on National Public Radio, The PBS News Hour, 60 Minutes, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.