Colin Ahern
Chief Cyber Officer, New York State

Colin Ahern was appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul in June 2022 as the state’s first Chief Cyber Officer. In this role, he oversees all cyber threat assessment, mitigation, and response efforts and leads cross-agency efforts to protect New York State from cyber threats.

Prior to joining state service, Colin served as First Deputy Director of New York City Cyber Command and Acting Chief Information Security Officer of New York City. In those roles, he led the transformation of a small team into a charter-backed city agency with more than 800,000 computers and mobile devices under management across more than 100 departments and offices throughout New York City government. Colin also led the creation of the city’s first cloud-based, zero-trust environment, enabling New York City Cyber Command to pivot to a remote work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to process billions of events daily to ensure that city services were defended from cyber threats. Colin worked in cybersecurity in the financial services industry before joining New York City government.

Colin began his career in the Army, enlisting in the reserves after 9/11. He was later selected for an ROTC scholarship and served on active duty, including two, year-long tours in Afghanistan. He was promoted to multiple leadership roles and ended his Army career as a company commander in the Army Cyber Brigade, where he oversaw the creation of a specialized cyberspace operations organization. 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.

Colin has taught at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs as an Adjunct Associate Professor and is a guest lecturer at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Colin has given numerous keynote addresses to academic, public, and private sector audiences, and frequently engages with the media. His academic and professional writing has been widely published, including by the Advanced Computing Systems Association and the Association for Computing Machinery. Colin is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and a certified information systems security professional. Colin received a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a Master of Business Administration from the New York University Stern School of Business.

Colin lives with his wife and two children in Brooklyn.