I nominate Daniel Ragsdale, Director of the Information Technology and Operations Center (ITOC) of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, United States Military Academy, for FISSEA Educator of the Year.
LTC Ragsdale is an outstanding educator, whose extraordinary impact in information assurance education has extended far beyond the ITOC, and the US Military Academy. Dan developed and executed an Information Warfare course within the Computer Science program. In one year it went from an experimental course, to one of the most popular electives the program offers. His teaching style and techniques are impeccable. He is literally educating the next generation of leaders of a technology based Army. However, his influence extends far beyond this single course. He consistently brings in research projects from security agencies and has cadets work to develop prototype solutions for real-world problems and real-world clients. The impact of his efforts have been seen by the NSA, the Secret Service, LIWA, and others.
Recognizing that "learning is enhanced by doing", he developed a laboratory for allowing students the opportunity to defend against hacking by learning the likely tactics of cyber-attackers. Starting with some cast-off equipment, he began building an Information Warfare (IWAR) laboratory. His enthusiasm was infectious, spreading through several departments all eager to show support for this lab. His enthusiasm spread beyond USMA, with several agencies, particularly the NSA, also providing support for his lab. Dan, working with the NSA, devised the concept of a Service Academy (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard) cyber-defense contest where each academy would establish and defend a network against attack. He broke through several bureaucratic obstacles in order to design, develop, and execute the first Inter-Service Cyber-Defend exercise. Teams from the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the Naval Postgraduate School competed. The 92nd Aggressor Squadron served as attackers and evaluators.
Having an inherent understanding that Information Assurance extends beyond Computer Science, Dan worked to establish the first ever student chapter of the ACM Special Interest Group for Security, Audit and Control (SIGSAC). This chapter of over 200 students of all academic disciplines meets regularly to discuss information security issues.
Dan has developed a central focus of information assurance in numerous other courses as well. He worked with other departments to instill a sense of IA in law courses, and social science courses taught outside the CS curriculum. He directed an Academy-wide effort that has resulted in the United States Military Academy being identified as the first undergraduate institution to be recognized as an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.
Not only has LTC Daniel Ragsdale efforts extended beyond the confines of his immediate duties, he has established a mindset of information assurance education which will extend far beyond his time on the U.S. Military Academy staff and faculty.
Congratulations LTC Daniel Ragsdale!