Ragsdale joins computer science and engineering as professor of practice

Image of Daniel RagsdaleDr. Daniel Ragsdale '80, has joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering's faculty at Texas A&M University as a professor of practice. He comes to the department from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where he has served as program manager since 2011. During his time at DARPA, he managed a $175 million research and development portfolio of classified and unclassified programs that addressed a diverse array of topics including cybersecurity, psychology, education, and training. In recognition of his DARPA service, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest decoration for non-career federal employees.

Prior to DARPA, Ragsdale served in the U.S. Army for 30 years in various leadership capacities, retiring in 2011 from the United States Military Academy at West Point as a Colonel and Vice Dean. In recognition of his exemplary teaching, research, and service, he was promoted to Professor of Computer Science in 2007. A veteran of three combat deployments, he served as the Deputy Commanding Officer of a 2000-person Task Force responsible for defense of the largest coalition based in Iraq in 2005-06.

His research interests include cybersecurity, vulnerability research, reverse engineering, computer ethics, privacy. Ragsdale has more than 20 years of supervisory experience in research and development and educational settings. His focus on the technical as well as the human dimension of cyber security helped him to bring innovation to the laboratory, to the classroom, and to operational settings. He has authored or co-authored dozens of cyber security papers, articles, and book chapters.

In addition to the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, Ragsdale was designated a Texas A&M Department of Computer Science Distinguished Former Student in 2007. He was awarded the Colloquium for Information System Security Education Founder's Medal in 2005, and in 2002, he received the U.S. Military Academy Apgar Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Federal Information Systems Security Education Association Educator of the Year award. This summer he will be inducted into the ESPN Fan Hall of Fame.

Ragsdale, Aggie class of 1980, holds a doctoral degree in computer science from Texas A&M University, a master's degree in computer science from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a bachelor's degree from the United States Military Academy. As a Texas A&M student, he received the Computer Science Graduate Student Leadership Excellence Award.

"After being away from an academic setting for the past few years, I could not possibly be more thrilled to back in Aggieland," said Ragsdale. "As an educator, I have always believed that inspiration is the cornerstone of learning, and it's my sincere hope that my teaching and research practices will be both inspiration and compelling for current and future Aggies. I commit to ever-acknowledge Plutach's age-old assertion that 'the mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be lit.'"

Ragsdale is a soldier and a computer scientist. He is a Ranger, Pathfinder, Master Parachutist, Jungle Expert, and cybersecurity scholar and educator. To his solders and students, he is a deeply respected mentor and educator.