Professor Kosal on Suspected Syrian Chemical Weapons Attacks

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Nunn School Assistant Professor Margaret E. Kosal highlighted issues at the intersection of science, technology, and policy in invited comments published Wednesday by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. In “The Suspected Syrian Chemical Attacks:  What Now?” she notes the gap in the national security community to lessen or disregard the threat of chemical weapons and chemical terrorism. She also emphasized the need for better remote verification methodologies. If the international community, some allied coalition, or the United States is to respond to chemical weapons use, more accurate and precise technologies and means of verification are needed to enable more robust political and foreign policy choices. Better and faster detection capabilities will also benefit nonproliferation and deterrence by increasing the likelihood that chemical weapons use will be discovered.


Formally trained as an experimental scientist, Kosal earned a doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) working on biomimetic and nano-structured materials, including synthetic blood substitutes, artificial photosynthesis, and anti-material catalytic agents. She is also the co-founder of 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 was Science and Technology Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense (ASD(NCB)) within the Department of Defense. She also served as the first liaison to the Biological and Chemical Defense Directorate at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Most recently she served as served as an advisor to the Chief of Staff of the US Army as part of his Strategic Studies Group (SSG). Her book Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense (Springer Academic Publishers, 2009) explores scenarios and strategies regarding the benefits and potential proliferation threats of nanotechnology and other emerging sciences for national security. Working in academia and in government, Kosal is among the foremost young experts on the entanglement of emerging and dual-use technologies; such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and the cognitive neurosciences, with national security concerns.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Ava Roth
  • Created: 08/22/2013
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016


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