Margaret M. Polski, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Wargaming Department
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Margaret M Polski photo


Dr. Polski has provided analysis and research at home and abroad to address a wide range of national security decision making and operations. Trained as an experimental political economist and management consultant, she has helped organizations innovate to address threats and emerging opportunities, and to improve operating performance. Dr. Polski's research is focused on strategic behavior in complex physical and social systems and includes work in experimental design, game theory, cognitive neuroscience, and computational social science. Her current research interests are related to understanding the behavior of heterogeneous systems.

Contact Information

Areas of Expertise

  • Africa
  • COIN
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Counterterrorism
  • Economics
  • Geopolitics
  • International Relations
  • Maritime Strategy
  • National Security
  • Policy
  • Wargaming

Professional Highlights


Associate Professor

Hired to support war gaming, analysis, teaching, and advising activities in the War Gaming Department in the Center for Naval Warfare Studies.

National Academies

Consultant to the Committee on the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy of the National Academies and the Committee on the Supply Chain for Middle-Skill Jobs: Education, Training, and Certification Pathways

CNO Staff and DRC OPM

Designed and conducted a comparative study of U.S. military strategy enterprises for the Chief of Naval Operations' Strategy and Planning staProvided technical assistance to the Office of the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Embedded with the ISAF Headquarters Afghan Assessment cell in Kabul to support the Commander's strategic assessment and reporting activities.


Embedded with the Assistance Coordination Unit of the moderate Syrian opposition in Gaziantep, Turkey to assess strategy, planning, and management activities.


Assessed technical assistance requirements in northern Ghana.


Assessed technical assistance requirements in Ethiopia, Ghana, and the Horn of Africa.

War Gaming

Supported war games and workshops to meet the objectives of the Joint Staff and the National Defense University

Stabilization and Reconstruction

Developed, managed, and co-taught a course in stabilization and reconstruction strategy and planning at the National Defense University

Washington DC

Researched, wrote, and published the book Wired for Survival


Ph.D., Indiana University, Political Science 
M.P.A., Harvard University, Business Economics and Policy 
B.E.S., University of Minnesota, Social Science and Management

Related Credentials

Experimental Design

Research Contributions and Publications

Extending the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework to Policy Analysis and Design

In Filippo Sabetti and Dario Castiglio Eds. Institutional Diversity in Self-Governing Societies: The Bloomington School and Beyond.
Landam, MD: Lexington Books

Strategy 2.0: The Next Generation
Joint Force Quarterly: 81, 2nd Quarter

Are Wargames Quasi-Experiments?

Technical briefing paper for a panel discussion at the 83rd Symposium of the Military Operations Research Society
June 22-25

Rethinking the Role of Universities in Innovation

Background Paper for the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, National Research Council, National Academy

Improving the Accuracy of U.S. Government Debt Estimates

Mercatus Center Working Paper No. 11-13
George Mason University

Truth and Consequences: A Guide to Understanding U.S. Government Debt and Deficits

Mercatus Center Working Paper No. 10-76
George Mason University

Systemic Risk and the U.S. Financial System

Mercatus On Policy Series No. 53
Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Bank Risk Management

Mercatus On Policy Series No 43
Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Wired for Survival: The Rational (And Irrational) Choices We Make, From the Gas Pump to Terrorism
FT Press (Wharton School Publishing)

The Economic Organization of Biomedical Research in the United States
International Social Science Journal. 188:283-297

The Institutional Economics of Biodiversity, Biological Materials, and Bioprospecting
Journal of Ecological Economics. 53:543-557

The Invisible Hands of U.S. Commercial Banking Reform: Private Action and Public Guarantees
The Netherlands: Kluwer

Growth and Change in the New Economy: Opportunities and Challenges

The New Economy and Economic Growth in Europe and the U.S
In Audretsch, D. and Welfens, P.J.J., Eds
Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag

The New Economy in Germany and the United States: Policy Challenges and Solutions
American Institute for Contemporary German Studies Economic Studies Working Paper 27
The AICGS New Economy Study Group Team
Washington, D.C.: AICGS

Measuring Transaction Costs and Institutional Change in the U.S. Commercial Banking Industry

Institute for Development Strategies Discussion Paper ISSN 01-3

Sustaining Innovation and Growth in Research-Intensive Industries: Early Stage Finance Issues & Approaches

Discussion paper prepared for the Board on Science, Engineering, Technology, and Economic Policy,
National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.

Community Driven Development

Institutional Evolution and Change: Interstate Banking Reform in the United States
In The Poverty Reduction Sourcebook, Volume I, Chapter 9
Washington, D.C.: The World Bank

Doctoral Dissertation
UMI Company: Ann Arbor, MI

Rent Dissipation in the Presence of Negative Externalities: Does Dependency Matter?

Rent Dissipation in the Presence of Negative Externalities: Does Dependency Matter?
August 12
Available at

Local Actions, Better Lives: Decentralizing Rural Infrastructure Services

Seizing the Opportunity, Meeting the Challenge: Institutional Reform for Sustainable Rural Infrastructure

The Economic Development Institute of the World Bank. Washington, D.C.

Other Honors

Military Cyber Professionals Association Order of Thor

External Memberships and Associations

Joint Associate for the Advancement of Strategic Concepts

Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study
Affiliate Research Fellow

Military Cyber Professionals Association
Editor-in-Chief Military Cyber Affairs

Military Operations Research Society

NATO Systems Analysis Studies Panel on Course of Action Analysis in the 21st Century
U.S. Member

NATO Systems Analysis Studies Panel Exploratory Team on Structured Analytical War Gaming

Navy LeagueSociety for Organizational and Institutional Economics

U.S. Naval Institute

News, Media, & Events


VIDEO: 45 Seconds on Doing Something Worthwhile

Jun. 24, 2019
News Publication

Maritime Irregular Warfare Workshop

Jun. 25, 2019
9:00 a.m.
Mahan Reading Room, U.S. Naval War College, 686 Cushing Road, Newport, RI 02841

Alexander Hamilton and the persistence of myth

Feb. 15, 2019
American Political Thought
Article Publication

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