John Nagl, president of the Center for a New American Security, the liberal-founded think tank that helped staff President Obama's Pentagon, is stepping down. Nagl, a retired Army officer, Iraq War veteran, and West Point graduate, has become one of the most influential and often cited voices on defense strategy in the military. He is considered a co-author and supporter of U.S. counterinsurgency strategy, even as "COIN" fell out of favor with the administration, which some say kept him from a formal post inside the Pentagon.
CNAS plans to hold a public search for Nagl's replacement, which the group expects to announced in about a month.
Nagl is the latest high-profile shift by CNAS veterans in an out of government. Co-founder Michele Flournoy was Pentagon policy chief under Defense Secretary Robert Gates for three years but has announced she is leaving in February. Similarly, Colin Kahl ended his extended term as deputy assistant secretary of defense, keeping watch over middle east policy, to return to CNAS as a senior fellow and to teaching at Georgetown University.Nagl will become a research fellow at the U.S. Naval Academy, teach counterinsurgency to midshipmen, and "investigate the influences of culture upon warfare." He will maintain a status with CNAS as a non-resident senior fellow.