Monday, March 14, 2011

Renowned Counterinsurgency Expert John Nagl Will Deliver Holstein Ethics Lecture on March 23

CHESTERTOWN, MD—One of the world’s top experts on national security and counterinsurgency, John A. Nagl, will deliver the Holstein Ethics Lecture at Washington College Wednesday afternoon, March 23. The talk, “Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall, Toll Science Center, on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. The title is taken from Nagl’s 2005 book Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, a comparison of British and American strategies he first wrote as a dissertation at Oxford University.

Now president of the D.C.-based Center for a New American Security, Nagl spent 20 years as an armor officer in the United States Army, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and earning renown for his mentorship of junior officers. His last military assignment before retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel was at Fort Riley, KS, where he trained the transition teams that embed with Iraqi and Afghan units.

A distinguished 1988 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a Rhodes Scholar, Nagl later taught security studies at West Point and at Georgetown University. In 2007, he co-wrote the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. He has been published or interviewed by numerous national media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, 60 Minutes, NPR, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. For more information on John Nagl and the Center for a New American Security, visit

Dr. Nagl’s talk is sponsored by the Holstein Ethics Committee at Washington College, part of an ethics program founded by 1968 alumnus Richard Holstein to encourage students to examine the ethical aspects of their actions.

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.