Second Watch: An Initiative to Help Veterans Find a New Mission in Cybersecurity

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John Davis


Category: Company & Culture, Policy

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By John Davis, vice president, federal chief security officer, retired U.S. Army major general

The cybersecurity industry has a great need for well-trained professionals, people who understand how to respond to threats and prevent successful attacks. When we look at veterans, we see people who have already shown their ability to answer the call when challenges and threats emerge. That’s why we’re launching Second Watch, an initiative to help veterans find a new mission in cybersecurity by providing no-cost online cybersecurity training and certification opportunities.

Second Watch is designed to be accessible to veterans at any level of technical expertise. The initiative includes the opportunity to earn certification as a Palo Alto Networks Certified Cybersecurity Associate (PCCSA), a Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Administrator (PCNSA) or a Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE). 

Why Veterans?

During my military career, I served in multiple leadership positions in the infantry, special operations, cyber and information operations, and I know how much that experience contributes to my current work expanding cybersecurity initiatives and global policy for the international public sector and assisting governments around the world in preventing successful cyber attacks.

Second Watch by Palo Alto NetworksMitch Densley, a system engineer at Palo Alto Networks who served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2005-15, explains it well in a video about veterans at Palo Alto Networks: “Cybersecurity is still a battle, but it’s waged in the civilian world as well as in the military world.” He goes on to highlight several ways that veterans’ experience and training transition well into successful careers in cybersecurity, including their understanding of the nature of sensitive information and their familiarity with operational security tactics.

At Palo Alto Networks, we have a vision of a world where each day is safer and more secure than the one before. We believe this aligns with the deeply held values of veterans, who demonstrate skills such as leadership, adaptability, problem-solving, teamwork and commitment in the course of protecting their nation. 

More About Second Watch

This isn’t our first initiative to provide training opportunities to veterans. Our partnership with VetsinTech allows us to offer instructor-led cybersecurity training to veterans. Through that partnership, we have helped more than 100 veterans receive certifications. Palo Alto Networks has also partnered with CyberVetsUSA to help veterans in Virginia and Maryland. With Second Watch, we can offer cybersecurity training and certification on a broader scale. 

Veterans have completed a vital first watch in their military careers. With Second Watch, we want to help them train to protect our digital way of life.

The world could use more good people to secure it. Learn more about Second Watch

9 Reader Comments

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    Do you consider USAR in your. Veteran classification? Did not retire just served

    Thanks. David. Lindsey

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    Thank you for the question! I checked with the team and yes, that is included as a veteran status. The person I spoke with said the program is generally open to anyone who graduated basic training and wore the uniform. I hope that helps — thank you for your interest in the program!

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    I am a US Army veteran and interested in the second watch Cyber Security program.

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    Wonderful! The linked resources should help you. Thank you for your service, and for reading the post.

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    Will this program provide a test voucher for veterans looking to take the PCCSA or will the veteran need to purchase the voucher?

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    Hello, and thank you for your comment! Here’s what I’ve been able to find out: We do offer the voucher for the certification exam. That process will be the last step of the training when they request the voucher from the certification email alias.

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    Thank you for your follow up. I will repost here if I run into any troubles.

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    Thank you!

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    One more update — here’s a link to the information on how to request a voucher:

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