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Cybersecurity Is Homeland Security: The Arizona Approach

As NASCIO gets under way in Louisville, Ky., GT talked to Arizona CISO Tim Roemer about what it means to serve jointly as the state’s top official for cybersecurity and homeland security.

Arizona Director of Homeland Security/CISO Tim Roemer.
Government Technology/David Kidd
LOUISVILLE — It’s been 18 months since Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey made a significant structural change: He named state Chief Information Security Officer Tim Roemer the head of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security. Ducey’s move was on the early side of a trend toward ever more public-facing cybersecurity roles in state government.

In April, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine created the new executive-level position of cybersecurity strategic advisor, naming CyberOhio Chairman Kirk Herath to the post. Two months later, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul appointed Colin Ahern the state’s first chief cyber officer, charging him in part with oversight of the state’s recently formed cyber operations center. For both Ohio and New York, these new roles complement the work of an existing state chief information security officer: Anupam Srivastava and Chris DeSain, respectively.

In Arizona, Roemer’s dual role gives him the necessary respect with internal agencies, as well as partners outside the state organization.

“When we’re coming to them from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security, from a director of state homeland security who’s also a state CISO, it gives us more credibility to all of those agencies that our director is on the governor’s cabinet,” he said.

Noelle Knell has been the editor of Government Technology magazine for e.Republic since 2015. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.
Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.