Michelle D. Ziegler

Photo of Michelle Ziegler
Technical Analyst
Off Site Office


B.S. in astronomy/physics, University of Hawaii; M.S. in astronomy/physics, James Cook University


Michelle Ziegler is a technical analyst working with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She has an extensive background with quantitative and qualitative analyses, methodology development, and a robust publication history. Ziegler’s work ranges from tactical level detailed analysis and relationship building, to development and evaluation of current and proposed strategy and the resulting impacts and alternatives, as well as authoring briefings and final reports. At RAND Ziegler has worked on topics ranging from Army watercraft sustainment challenges, modeling counter UAS capabilities, budget analyses, deep dives into SIGINT capabilities of the Air Force, to personnel requirements for Navy cyber billets, as well as capabilities and logistics challenges facing Army Prepositioned Stock. For the Homeland Security Operational and Analysis Center (HSOAC), Ziegler has done capability and capacity analyses for the U.S. Coast Guard surface and aviation fleets, developing frameworks and strategies for Chief Data Officer development, and a variety of disaster response projects for FEMA. Additionally, she serves as subject matter expert and processes reviewer for the Joint Requirements Council on a variety of topics. Prior to RAND, at the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition, Ziegler's main focuses were sensory substitution for wounded servicemembers and designing and modeling a fractal hierarchy control system for UAVs. In the Software Acquisition and Process Department at the Aerospace Corporation, she handled metrics analysis, researched new data mining techniques for deficiency report analysis, and analyzed the software development plans for compliance to the DoD and ISO standards.

Recent Projects

  • Coast Guard Strategic Foresight Development: Evergreen V
  • Defining the Chief Data Office
  • Next Generation Future of Vertical Lift: Joint DHS Requirements
  • Simplifying Post Disaster Inspections
  • Identifying Needs and Options for Coast Guard Airpower

Selected Publications

Darrah, M. R., & Drakunov, S. V., Raj, A. K, "A Fractal Control Architecture for Multiple UAVs Missions," Proceedings of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Unmanned Systems North America, 2008

Darrah, M. R., Hostler, S. R., Peck, A. B., & Gurwell, M. A, "Monitoring Calibrators at Submillimeter Wavelengths," Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37, 2005

Gurwell, M. A., Peck, A. B., Hostler, S. R., Darrah, M. R., & Katz, C. A, Monitoring Phase Calibrators at Submillimeter Wavelengths

Aaron C. Davenport, Michelle D. Ziegler, Abbie Tingstad, Katherine Anania, Daniel Ish, Nidhi Kalra, Scott Savitz, Rachel Liang, Melissa Bauman, Decoding Data Science: How the Coast Guard Can Address the Implications of Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Other Aspects of Data Science, (PE-A150-DHS), 2020 (forthcoming)

Honors & Awards

  • Spotlight Award, Aerospace Corporation
  • Congressional Commendation for Research, Ed Case (Congressman, HI)
  • Impact Award, RAND Corporation