The Cable

Nagl to run Fort CNAS

With its cofounders Michèle Flournoy (recently confirmed as undersecretary of defense for policy) and Kurt Campbell (expected to be named assistant secretary of state for Asian and Pacific affairs) heading into government, who will run the fairly new and high-powered think tank the Center for a New American Security? Tipsters tell The Cable that counterinsurgency ...

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With its cofounders Michèle Flournoy (recently confirmed as undersecretary of defense for policy) and Kurt Campbell (expected to be named assistant secretary of state for Asian and Pacific affairs) heading into government, who will run the fairly new and high-powered think tank the Center for a New American Security?

Tipsters tell The Cable that counterinsurgency guru Lt. Col. John Nagl (ret.), now a senior fellow at CNAS, is likely to be tapped to hold down the fort. A West Point grad and former Rhodes Scholar who earned his doctorate at Oxford, Nagl served in both Gulf wars, and has written, cowritten and edited numerous books, among them: Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife, the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, a reissue of Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II, and a recent CNAS briefing paper on Afghanistan that seems to be informing a Joint Chiefs’ report to the president. Nagl didn’t immediately respond to a query about the tip, but has previously hinted that he was angling to become third fry cook at the E-ring McDonalds.

For now, Nagl is acting president, a CNAS officer told The Cable, saying the think tank plans to roll out more detailed plans soon, including the addition of a “big strategic thinker” to guide its policy initiatives. “We will continue to be the leading national security think tank in the U.S.,” he said. Beyond Flournoy and Campbell, a source said that several other CNAS hands had snagged administration jobs, including Nate Tibbits with the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, Derek Chollet to become deputy director of policy planning at the State Department, and, as The Cable reported yesterday, Colin Kahl and Vikram Singh to join the office of the undersecretary of defense for policy. CNAS senior vice president and director of studies James N. Miller is expected to become principal deputy under secretary of defense.

UPDATE: CNAS sends word Friday that former Navy secretary Richard J. Danzig has taken the helm as Chairman of the Board, and will have an office and active role at the think tank. Also joining the board, former under secretary of state for political affairs R. Nicholas Burns.

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