Lieutenant Colonels Paul Yingling and John Nagl are two of the most interesting and provocative strategists in the armed forces today. Both Iraq veterans, they have been critical of the armed forces for not adapting quickly enough to the demands of counterinsurgency, and Nagl has put forward a controversial proposal to create a new advisory unit within the Army. Their outspokenness comes at considerable personal cost (Nagl is leaving the army and Yingling has given up hope of promotion), but they are performing a valuable service by speaking out in the hope of reforming the institution they love.
They recently spoke to members of the Council on Foreign Relations at a packed meeting in New York which I helped put together along with my colleague Michael Scavelli. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the meeting, so another CFR fellow, Stephen Biddle, graciously stepped in as moderator. To hear some of what they had to say, I listened to a cfr.org podcast interview conducted by Greg Bruno. You can too by clicking here.