Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap with Veterans Organizations

November is the month that many countries around the world honor the veterans who have served in their armed forces. It is the perfect time to thank our veterans for their service in keeping us safe and reminds us of the sacrifices they have made.  As well as remembering their service given, November is a good time to think about what we are doing to help our veterans as they transition back to the workforce and look for well-paid civilian jobs.

At Palo Alto Networks, we believe that veterans make superb cybersecurity personnel. Veterans understand the mission to protect and to prevent bad actors from succeeding. Veterans bring a unique understanding of defense tactics that make them well suited for cybersecurity careers.

VetsinTech Organization

It is forecasted that by 2020, there will be 1.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs. We’ve partnered with veterans organizations, such as VetsinTech, to help do our part in addressing this. Almost every month, we host a veterans training week at our headquarters in Santa Clara with the Vets in Tech organization. Earlier this month at the annual Vets in Tech Gala, we were humbled to receive recognition for our contributions to the Vets in Tech education program. Mitch Densely was honored to be the recipient of the Instructor of the Year award for his passion and dedication in delivering these classes. Over the past year, Mitch has trained over 100 veterans in this program.


Major General John Davis, VP and Federal CSO at Palo Alto Networks, accepts the Instructor of the Year award on behalf of Mitch Densely, with Kathryn Webster, Founder of Vets in Tech, and Linda Moss, VP Global Enablement at Palo Alto Networks.


CyberVets Initiative

We are equally excited to be part of the CyberVets initiative rolling out across different states in the USA. In partnership with Cisco, Amazon Web Services and (ISC)2, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet  and others, The Virginia Veterans Cyber Training (VVCT) program launched in 2016 with a free online entry-level cyber training pilot for 200 veterans who wanted to work in Virginia’s cybersecurity industry. This month an expanded CyberVets USA program has been launched, extending this program to Maryland and soon to North Carolina. Through our participation in this initiative and alignment with government, industry and state colleges, we’re proud to be serving our veterans and helping them develop the skills to succeed in the cybersecurity industry.

The shortage of cybersecurity professionals – and the understanding that veterans have great skills to help meet this demand –  is not only a US phenomenon. We’ve been honored to work with our Australian veterans and placement organizations such as With You, With Me in training ex-servicemen and women on our technology. For myself in leading our enablement initiatives here at Palo Alto Networks, I’m thrilled to have 30% of our training organization made up of veterans, and look forward to continuing our commitment to training more veterans around the world.

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