Defining a Complex Advance
All advances can be considered “complex” if you, and you should, consider all factors like the “profile” of your protecee, any credible, implied or possible threats, number of movements, personnel logistics, etc. As George Orwell said in his 1945 novel, Animal Farm, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” The same can be paraphrased for protective security advances, “All advances are complex, but some advances are more complex than others.
What is a complex advance? A complex advance involves several venues, multiple protectees, transportation elements and spans several days. Examples of complex advances are providing security at events like the Olympics, the Superbowl, meetings of corporate executives, a large enclave of heads of state, etc.; any security required event of people, places and occasions that is extraordinarily demanding in time, movement and potential problems. How do you conduct a complex advance?
The system and procedure of solving any complex problem is to begin by analyzing the entire scope of the problem and reducing it to its simplest form. In a simple metaphor, the problem can be seen as an important test. You are given six hours for the test with approximately two hundred fifty questions. You don’t become intimidated or awestruck; it isn’t necessarily a six hour test; that is the amount of time allowed. Two hundred fifty questions? Not that daunting if you realize you can answer only one question at a time. So focus on that question and nothing else until you are ready to move on to the next, and the next, etc. Think of it in terms of peeling an onion; one layer wrapped over another. As you finish one part continue unwrapping until the onion (problem) is completely taken apart.
Breaking it All Down
Step one is to look at all the venues and possible areas of principal visitations. It helps to do a “pre-advance”. A pre-advance is, as the name says, a visitation to the site or sites to determine the “big picture” and to obtain a general understanding of the “lay of the land”. But there is a modern, perhaps better way to conduct the pre-advance and analyze the means and methods of simplifying the complexity than doing an actual personal visit to the area/areas to require security arrangements; use your computer to save your feet and time. Access the site through your browser and determine as much information you can retrieve. This should include general telephone numbers, street addresses and visual “birds-eye’ and street level photos, perhaps actual blueprints (elevations – interior and exterior maps) of the site/sites, adjoining businesses, traffic flow and congestion, and a general overlay of the entire area.
Step two begins with a prioritization of venues; which is the primary setting, secondary. tertiary, etc. how much time and activity will be spent at each location, special problems and questionable areas, how many principals and any special needs of each protectee, and required resources for each location and protectee.
Step three is a matter of approximating resources available and logistical movements of man power and material. This would include auxiliary support such as law enforcement, medical, and fire emergency response, host committee or sponsor and equipment.
Step four of simplification of the complexity is to weigh any and all publicity given to the event or events. What can be expected in the numbers of the general public as to attendance at each location? If there will be plentiful publicity and media coverage a “press liaison” position should be considered and included. This role would include making sure all media is credentialed and following established guidelines plus lending assistance in press movements at each venue.
Putting it all together
As each procedural step is undertaken, sufficient notes should be compiled, perhaps even the drawing of a “flow chart” which is merely the drawing of a picture illustrating the concept of strategic and tactical planning and the relationship of each element of the advance and events.
All the steps cited above can be done prior to an actual “on-site” advance which then would follow all the standard protocols of any advance including itineraries, timings, and rehearsals. What initially was a complex advance has now been reduced to its lowest common form and more easily undertaken.
You Have a Complex Advance? Simplify It
By: Dale L. June
Dale June is a former U.S. Secret Service Agent assigned to the Presidential Protective Division at the White House plus serving in the Sacramento and San Diego field Offices and holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice is from George Washington University. He currently teaches at National University, Los Angeles and is the author/co-author of nine books about protection and Homeland Security/Terrorism.