Homeland Security and Emergency Services

About OCT


The Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT) was created as part of the merger that established the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. OCT includes staff and Units from its predecessor, the Office of Homeland Security (OHS). The mission of OCT is to support federal, state, local, tribal and private sector efforts to Prevent, Protect against and Prepare for acts and threats of terrorism. Although Counter Terrorism is OCT's primary mission, many of our programs and initiatives support capabilities that can be applied to other threats and hazards as well. Like OHS, OCT is not a law enforcement agency, but we work closely with the New York State Police and other law enforcement and public safety agencies in the fight against terrorism.

Executive Order

On October 10, 2001, Section 5.113.34 Executive Order -No.113.34 was issued establishing The State Office of Public Security.

The responsibilities of the office include:
  1. Overseeing, directing and coordinating public security resources and reviewing public security policies, protocols and strategies of State agencies including, but not limited to, the Division of the State Police, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, State Emergency Management Office, Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Criminal Justice Services, Department of State, Office of Technology and the Department of Transportation;
  2. Developing policies, protocols and strategies to detect, respond to and recover from terrorist acts or threats; identifying potential short- falls and implementing appropriate revisions and enhancements thereto; and undertaking periodic drills and simulations designed to assess and prepare responses to a terrorist act or threat;
  3. Coordinating State agency resources for the collection and analysis of information regarding terrorist threats and activities of terrorists throughout the State;
  4. Coordinating and facilitating information sharing among local, State and Federal law enforcement agencies to ensure appropriate intelligence to assist in the early identification of and response to potential terrorist activities;
  5. Assessing the preparedness of State and local public health systems to respond to terrorists acts, including ensuring the availability of early warning systems designed to detect potential threats and determining adequacy and availability of necessary vaccines and pharmaceuticals and hospital capacity;
  6. Coordinating strategies, protocols and first-responder equipment needs to monitor, detect and respond to and mitigate consequences of a possible biological, chemical or radiological terrorist act or threat;
  7. Working with local, State and Federal agencies as well as private entities to undertake a statewide assessment of the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to terrorist attacks, including nuclear facilities, power plants, telecommunications systems, public roadways, railways, bridges and tunnels, and develop strategies designed to protect them from terrorist attacks;
  8. Developing plans to promote rapid recovery from terrorist attacks to ensure prompt restoration of transportation, utilities, critical communications and information systems and protect such infrastructure, as well as to contain and remove hazardous materials that might be used in an attack; and
  9. Maintain primary contact with the Federal Office of Homeland Security.

Additionally, all State agencies, departments, offices, divisions, public authorities, boards, bureaus, commissions and any other entities over which the Governor has executive power were directed to cooperate fully with the Director of Public Security and provide any assistance necessary to fulfill the stated objectives of the Office of Public Security.

On July 23, 2004 legislation S.7685/A.11723-A was signed into law. One of the results of this law is the codification of the NYS Office of Public Security, including a change of name to the NYS Office of Homeland Security.