Rising Stars

Damon Bragg

As operations and maintenance manager for the Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Security Information Network, Damon Bragg has hammered the network's customer service operations back into shape.

When he came to the job less than a year ago, Bragg's managers said HSIN faced many challenges, including contractor-managed service operations, a complicated technical refresh and a new contractor support team. Bragg also had to overhaul operating procedures and implement a help-desk ticketing system provided by the new contractor.

Help-desk tickets were piling up each day, frustrating users with long wait times for support. Other nagging problems included a lack of standardized incident response procedures, prolonged service interruptions and resource constraints that kept managers from hiring more people to help handle the issues.

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In his relatively short time at the agency, Bragg has transformed HSIN service operations and spurred his team's performance to the point where it is proactively tackling issues instead of reacting to them. A key to that turnaround was Bragg's talent for untangling thorny issues that had vexed even seasoned federal employees, his managers said.

"I deal with operations and procedures -- the 'how,'" Bragg wrote in a recent HSIN blog post. "For a platform like HSIN that works to break down the barriers to information sharing between agencies, security and usability are equally important. It all comes down to trust. And HSIN is just that, a network of trust."

Thanks to Bragg's leadership, HSIN has seen a 33 percent decrease in open help-desk tickets and a 41 percent reduction in unresolved system defects. He has also championed network optimization efforts that have resulted in an average 99.7 percent HSIN availability and a 45 percent increase in new user registrations since the technical refresh.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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