New York State Steps Up Cybersecurity Efforts with Appointment of First-Ever Cyber Chief

June 28, 2022-New York state is building up protection and response to cyber-attacks by creating for the first time a Chief Cyber Officer position.

Governor Kathy Hochul appointed leading international cybersecurity expert and decorated Army veteran Colin Ahern to oversee the state’s newly established Joint Security Operations Center.

Ahern will lead cross-agency efforts to protect the state from falling victim to increasingly prevalent and sophisticated cyber threats and will work to secure the integrity of the state’s information assets and ensure the safety of critical infrastructure.

“New York State is taking an aggressive, nation-leading approach to transforming our cybersecurity infrastructure to combat emerging threats and fortify our information assets,” Governor Hochul said. “I am thrilled to appoint Colin Ahern as New York State’s first ever Chief Cyber Officer. In an era of increasingly advanced cyber threats, Colin’s proven expertise and experience in the military, the private sector, and government will be critical to identifying cyber risks, enhancing our defense systems, preventing attacks, and ensuring that New Yorkers and our institutions remain protected.”

Chief Cyber Officer Colin Ahern said, “I am honored to have this opportunity to serve New Yorkers and work with Governor Hochul and her team to continue to build and enhance our statewide cybersecurity infrastructure. This administration is committed to leading the nation on cybersecurity, and I am so excited to join the front lines of that effort.”

Ahern previously served as First Deputy Director of New York City Cyber Command and later as Acting CISO, where he led the transformation of a small cyber unit into a vast agency with more than 100 departments and offices.

Ahern enlisting in the Army Reserves following the September 11th terrorist attacks and served as a U.S. Army Officer during two year-long tours in Afghanistan. His military decorations include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Unit Commendation with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 3 campaign stars, and the Knowlton Award.

The appointment of the Chief Cyber Officer is the latest in Governor Hochul’s continued commitment to building a strong cybersecurity defense infrastructure. Signed by Governor Hochul in April, the FY2023 State Budget includes nearly $62 million for cybersecurity, doubling the previous investment. This budget investment also includes a $30 million shared services program to help local governments acquire and deploy high quality cybersecurity services to bolster their cyber defenses.

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