Cybersecurity Veteran Owen Named to Leadership Role in Cal OES

Elijah Owen has an extensive background in cybersecurity and intelligence, having served as an intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2014. He’s also worked on and led numerous state and federal task forces in those areas, as well as in emergency management and recovery.

A longtime cybersecurity expert with the state of California has been appointed to a new role in the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), where he has served as commander of the State Threat Assessment Center since 2015.

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Elijah "Eli" Owen (right) was sworn in remotely last week in his new role by Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci.
Cal OES
Elijah “Eli” Owen, 40, has has been named assistant director of the Recovery Operations division for the emergency services office.

Owen has an extensive background in cybersecurity and intelligence. He was an intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2014, and has worked on and led numerous state and federal task forces in those areas as well as emergency management and recovery.

“I am deeply humbled by this appointment and excited to join the leadership of Cal OES’ Recovery Division,” Owen told Techwire. “I look forward to helping drive a recovery operations strategy that continues to put survivors first and is enabled by technology and driven by data. One team, one fight!”

From 2015 to 2017, Owen was named acting commander of the California Cyber Security Integration Center (Cal-CSIC), which he helped build and lead while also serving as commander of the State Threat Assessment Center. He also led governor’s task forces on election security and the census. Owen has had collateral assignments since his initial appointment by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015, including working on and leading state task forces on the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s wildfire fight.

Owen previously served for nearly a decade in the federal government as an adviser, working to counter national security threats (terrorism and cyber) to the United States. He also serves on numerous government and nonprofit advisory boards. He is a member of the Sacramento chapter of the American Society for Public Administration and the Sacramento chapter of the Alumni Board of the University of Southern California, where he earned his master’s degree in public administration.

Owen’s new position does not require Senate confirmation, and the compensation is $148,800.
Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.