John A. Nagl

John Nagl headshot

John A. Nagl

Professorial Lecturer

Part-time Faculty


Dr. John Nagl is Associate Professor of Warfighting Studies in the Department of Military Strategy, Planning, and Operations at the Army War College. A West Point graduate and retired Armor officer, Nagl served in tank units in combat in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, earning his Master's and Doctoral degrees in International Relations. His doctoral dissertation was published as "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam" by the University of Chicago. He earned the George C. Marshall Award and an MMAS at the Army Command and General Staff College. Upon retirement from the Army, Nagl served as a Senior Fellow and later as the President of the Center for a New American Security and as a member of the Defense Policy Board and the Reserve Forces Policy Board. He was the first Minerva Research Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, writing the book "Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War", and served for eight years as the Ninth Head of the Haverford School outside Philadelphia.

At the Army War College, Nagl is the Lead Faculty Instructor and Seminar Historian for Seminar 13, Course Director for the elective "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan," and Co-Course Director for the elective "Black Soldiers in America's Wars: DEI in Action" with Professor Chuck Allen. He is the Co-Lead for an Independent Research Project on Leadership in the Russia-Ukraine war with Professor Al Lord, and Research Agenda lead for Department of Military Strategy, Planning, and Operations.  He is a member of the Board of Advisors at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.


International Relations, Counterinsurgency, Irregular Warfare, Military Analysis, U.S. Defense Strategy

D.Phil. International Relations (1997), Oxford University

M.Phil. International Relations (1995), Oxford University

MMAS, Military Arts and Sciences (2001), U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

B.S. International Relations (1988), U.S. Military Academy at West Point

IAFF 6186.22 Seminar on U.S. Special Operations