Margaret E. Kosal

Associate Professor

Member Of:
  • School of International Affairs
  • Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy
Office Location: Habersham 303
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Margaret E. Kosal’s research explores the relationships among technology, strategy, and governance. Her research focuses on two, often intersecting, areas:  reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and understanding the role of emerging technologies for security. 

Her work aims to understand and explain the role of technology and technological diffusion for national security at strategic and operational levels. In the changing post-Cold War environment, the most advanced military power no longer guarantees national or international security in a globalized world in which an increasing number of nation-states and non-state actors have access to new and potentially devastating dual-use capabilities. The long-term goals of her work are to understand the underlying drivers of technological innovation and how technology affects national security and modern warfare. She is interested in both the scholarly, theoretical level discourse and in the development of new strategic approaches and executable policy options to enable US dominance and to limit the proliferation of unconventional weapons.

On the question of understanding the impact of emerging technology on national and international security her research considers what role will nanotechnology, cognitive science, biotechnology, and converging sciences have on states, non-state actors, balance of power, deterrence postures, security doctrines, nonproliferation regimes, and programmatic choices. Through examination of these real applications on the science (benign and defensive) and potential (notional) offensive uses of nanotechnology, she seeks to develop a model to probe the security implications of this emerging technology. The goal of the research is not to predict new specific technologies but to develop a robust analytical framework for assessing the impact of new technology on national and international security and identifying policy measures to prevent or slow proliferation of new technology - the next generation “WMD” - for malfeasant intentions.

Kosal is the author of numerous publications, including Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense (Springer Academic Publishers, 2009), which explores scenarios and strategies regarding the benefits and potential proliferation threats of nanotechnology and other emerging sciences for international security; editor of the volume, Technology and the Intelligence Community: Challenges and Advances for the 21st Century Springer, 2018); and editor and contributor to the volumes Disruptive and Game Changing Technologies in Modern Warfare: Development, Use, and Proliferation (Springer, 2019), which was recognized by NATO as a Top Book of 2021, and Weapons Technology Proliferation:  Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic Approaches to Technological Proliferation (Springer, 2021).  

During AY 2016-2017, she served as a Senior Adjunct Scholar to the Modern War Institute at West Point. From 2012-2013, she as a senior advisor to the Chief of Staff of the US Army as part of his inaugural Strategic Studies Group (SSG). Before joining the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, she was Science and Technology Advisor within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Kosal also served as the first liaison to the Biological and Chemical Defense Directorate at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). She has been recognized for her leadership across the U.S. federal government, specifically for efforts to coordinate across the DoD as part of the interagency Nonproliferation and Arms Control Technology Working Group, reporting to the National Security Council (NSC), and as member of the interagency federal group charged with leading the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Kosal was nominated to and led the U.S. involvement in the NATO Nanotechnology for Defense Working Group. More recently, she was appointed Vice Chair of the US National Academies Committee on Assessing and Improving Strategies for Preventing, Countering, and Responding to Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism: Chemical Threats and Study Member on the Committee tasked with assessing Biological Threats.

Her awards include the 2015 CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, 2014 Georgia Tech Junior Faculty Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, 2012 Ivan Allen Jr Legacy Award, 2010 INTAGO Faculty Award, CETL Class of 1969 Teaching Scholar, the OSD Award for Excellence, 2007 UIUC Alumni Association Recent Alumni Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Defense Policy Fellow, and the Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines Dissertation Research Award. Currently, she serves on the editorial board of the scholarly journals  the Journal of Strategic Security, the Journal of Defense Management, and Global Security: Health Science and Policy. In January 2017, Kosal was appointed the Editor-in-Chief of the Cambridge University Press journal, Politics and the Life Sciences.

  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • B.S., Chemistry, University of Southern California
Awards and
  • Senior Adjunct Scholar to the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military
  • 2015-2016 CETL Class of 1969 Teaching Scholar
  • 2015 CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
  • Gold Star Award in Recognition of the Highest Level of Accomplishment in Research, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
  • Dean Griffith Teaching Recognition – “Thank a Teacher” Award
  • 2014 Georgia Tech Junior Faculty Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award
  • Ivan Allen Jr. Legacy Faculty Award, 2012
  • INTAGO Faculty of the Year, 2010
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence, 2007
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Recent Alumni Award, 2007
  • President’s Volunteer Service Award, 2007
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Fellowship, 2005-2007
  • American Chemical Society’s Chemical and Engineering News Top 2002 Supramolecular Chemistry research paper
  • IAC Georgia Power Professor of Excellence, Fall 2017
  • Provost’s Emerging Leaders Program, AY 2018-2019
Areas of
  • Biotechnology
  • Emerging Technology
  • Military
  • Nanotechnology
  • National Security
  • Nonproliferation
  • Nuclear Weapons
  • Terrorism
  • US Foreign & Defense Policy


Research Fields:
  • Biological and Chemical Nonproliferation and Counterterrorism
  • Comparative Politics: Regional Studies
  • Cybersecurity
  • Emerging Technology and Security
  • Global Nuclear Security
  • Information Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • International Security Policy
  • Regional Security Challenges
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
  • Science, Technology, and International Policy
  • Wicked Problems
  • Asia (East)
  • Asia (North) / Eurasia
  • Asia (South)
  • Middle East
  • United States
  • Weapons and Security
  • Armed Conflict
  • Bioethics, Bioscience, Biotechnology
  • Conflicts
  • Diffusion of Technology
  • East-Asian Studies
  • Emerging Technologies - Innovation
  • Espionage
  • Foreign Policy
  • Governance
  • Human/Machine Interaction
  • Innovation
  • National Security
  • National Strategy
  • Non-Traditional Security Challenges
  • Perspectives on technology
  • Science and Engineering Workforces
  • Science and Technology
  • Strategy
  • Technology
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Terrorism
  • Wicked Problems


  • INTA-2040: Sci,Tech & Int'l Affairs
  • INTA-2042: Intro-Global WMD Issues
  • INTA-2698: Research Assistantship
  • INTA-3102: Problem of Proliferation
  • INTA-3103: Challenge of Terrorism
  • INTA-3111: U.S. Defense Policy
  • INTA-4007: Intell & Int'l Security
  • INTA-4050: Int'l Affair&Tech Policy
  • INTA-4500: INTA Pro-Seminar
  • INTA-6111: US Foreign Secur Strat
  • INTA-6720: Politics Tech Prolif
  • INTA-8000: Sci,Tech&Int'l Affairs I
  • INTA-8001: Sci,Tech&Intl Affairs II
  • INTA-8813: Global WMD Policy

Selected Publications


Journal Articles


All Publications


Journal Articles



Working Papers

Internet Publications




Other Publications