Along with her duties as Assistant Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Institute of Technology, Margaret E. Kosal is currently the Director of the Program on Emerging Technology and Security and the Director of the Program on Biological and Chemical Nonproliferation and Counterterrorism within the Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP). Kosal’s research explores two interrelated areas: reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and understanding the role of emerging technologies for security.
Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Kosal was Science and Technology Advisor within the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense (OSD). She also served as the first liaison to the Biological and Chemical Defense Directorate at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Kosal received her doctoral degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) working on biomimetic nano-structured materials and has lectured nationally and internationally on both technical and international security subjects. In 2000, Kosal co-founded a sensor company, where she led research on biological, chemical, and explosive detection and spearheaded efforts toward the real-world applications of the technology. Previously, Kosal has held positions at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Northwestern University's Feinburg School of Medicine, the Monterey Institute of International Studies’ (MIIS) Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).
She has been recognized across the U.S. federal government for her leadership on national security as part of the interagency Nonproliferation and Arms Control Technology Working Group (NPAC TWG) reporting to the National Security Council, as DoD representative to the group charged with leading the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), in the NATO Nanotechnology for Defense Working Group, and more recently as an Associate to the National Intelligence Council (NIC). Highlights of her past activities include invitations to brief the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) chiefs on threats of WMD terrorism and successfully moderating discussions between Pakistani and Indian nuclear physicists on the control of Kashmir and decreasing nuclear tensions between the nations while participating in a by-invitation only meeting of scientists and engineers working on nonproliferation. In 2005, she advised the Department of Homeland Security on the biennial full-scale terrorism incident response exercise, TOP OFF-3, serving as a VIP Observer and Controller. Kosal serves on the editorial board of the scholarly journals Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and Journal of Strategic Security. She is the author of 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.
Beyond the office, Kosal is a lifetime Girl Scout and adult volunteer, as well as an accomplished skydiver who also enjoys trekking in mountainous areas around the world.