NEW YORK (WWTI) — Governor Kathy Hochul announced the appointment of Colin Ahern as the state’s first-ever Chief Cyber Officer on Monday.

According to the Governor’s Office, Ahern is an expert in cybersecurity, cyber resilience, and intelligence and will lead cross-agency efforts to protect New York State from increasingly prevalent cyber threats. Governor Hochul stressed the importance of the position in a press release on Monday.

“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 stated. “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.” 

In the position, Ahern will oversee all cyber threat assessment, mitigation, and response efforts. He will also work with executive management at every state agency to manage cyber risks and prevent attacks and lead the Joint Security Operations Center.

Ahern started his career as a U.S. Army Officer before being promoted to multiple leadership roles and concluded his Army career as a company commander at the U.S. Army Cyber Brigade. He also served as First Deputy Director of New York City Cyber Command and later led the transformation of a small cyber unit into a vast agency with more than 100 departments and offices in its purview as Acting CISO.

Ahern currently serves as an adjunct Associate Professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a Guest Lecturer at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Ahern said that he was looking forward to filling the position and serving NYS residents.

“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,” Ahern said. “This administration is committed to leading the nation on cybersecurity, and I am so excited to join the front lines of that effort.” 

More information about the position and Ahern can be found on the New York State website.