December 11, 2023
Annapolis, US 39 F

USNA Selects First Minerva Research Fellow

This January, Dr. John Nagl, current President of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington, D.C.,  will join the Naval Academy History Department as the academy’s first Minerva Research Fellow as part of the Department of Defense Minerva Initiative program.  Nagl will concurrently serve at the Naval Academy and as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at CNAS.

The Minerva Initiative is a DOD-sponsored, university-based social science research initiative launched by the Secretary of Defense in 2008 focusing on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy.  The goal of the Minerva Initiative is to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.

“Dr. Nagl is a well-known and international expert on counterinsurgency, in addition to being an experienced mentor for junior officers and we’re excited to have him join us,” said Naval Academy Academic Dean and Provost Andrew T. Phillips.

Beginning in 2010, the Office of the Secretary of Defense partnered with a range of defense educational institutions to launch Minerva Research Fellow programs at select Joint Professional Military Education schools, and expanded the program in 2011 to also include the three service academies.  Scholars accepted into Minerva Research Fellow faculty positions must investigate Minerva-relevant research topics and have a Ph.D. in social sciences or foreign area studies research, as well as a significant track record of research, teaching, academic presentation and publication exploring given topic area. The program is intended to build DoD in-house expertise in the social sciences by incorporating social science expertise into strategic levels of study and engagement across the Services and within the Department.

Nagl’s primary responsibility as the Minerva Chair at the academy will be to investigate the influences of culture upon warfare.  Each semester he will also teach one upper level elective course to the midshipmen, such as “the history of counterinsurgency” which will be offered this spring.  Nagl will also participate in department faculty research seminars.

“The history department is delighted that it will add Dr. Nagl, a distinguished soldier-scholar, to its faculty as the Naval Academy’s first Minerva Research Fellow,” said Naval Academy History Department Chair Richard Abels. “The midshipmen and the Naval Academy faculty are sure to benefit from his extensive experience and education.  We are very much looking forward to having him join us.”

Nagl is a Class of 1988 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years.  He is currently the President of the Center for a New American Security, a non-partisan think tank in Washington D.C.  Nagl is also a member of the Defense Policy Board, a visiting professor in the War Studies Department at Kings College of London, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies.  Nagl has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Commission on Wartime Contracting and served on the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel (the Hadley/Perry Commission).  He sits on the advisory boards of Mission Essential Personnel, the Spirit of America, and the Journal of the Royal United Services Institute. Nagl is also a member of the Joint Force Quarterly Advisory Committee, a Young Leader of the French-American Foundation and the American Council on Germany, and a member of the Diplomatic Finnish Sauna Society of Washington.

For more biographical information about Nagl, visit   For more information about the Minerva Initiative, visit For more about the Naval Academy, visit

Source: USNA
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