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In Iraq, Tactical Theory Put Into Practice

Jul 22, 2008 (Fresh Air)

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After years spent studying counterinsurgency, Lt. Col. John Nagl recently put his knowledge of rebellion suppression into practice while serving in Iraq. Nagl was part of the team that drafted the latest edition of a U.S. Army field manual on counterinsurgency, and he was able to turn his own recommendations into action while in combat.

In Iraq, Nagl served as the operations officer of a tank battalion task force. This was not his first tour in the region: Nagl led a tank platoon in the Gulf War, more than a decade earlier.

A West Point graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Nagl earned his doctorate in international relations from Oxford University. His research at Oxford was turned into a book, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam. Nagl has also taught national security studies at West Point.

Now retired from the military, Nagl is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

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