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As such, I always tell them that starting out in a career in EP can be challenging, more than likely it’s going to be slow going at first. The reasons for this are plentiful, some within your control and some that are not. The good news is that as I look around the industry, a greater number of specialists are entering our craft and being hired with greater frequency. Having said that, critical mistakes are also being made with nearly as much frequency.
It’s as if some have thought that because you have gone through your initial training and exceled, that you are immediately qualified to be the body man next right next to the Principal. Not true. There are many variables as to an agent’s success or defeat in EP. The keys discussed in this article are what work for me, and I hope by the end of the article you can put them to use as a tool for you as well.
In the early days of ‘private contractor’ work in Iraq following the end of the war in 2003, medics were generally unregulated and unregistered, most being ex RMAs (now CMT1s) who had left the military and qualified as HSE Offshore Medics. Some had not done any ‘civilian’ courses but were hired on the strength of their military qualifications and experience; the guys would generally operate as firstly a PSD team member/operator, and secondly as a team medic. In those days the drugs and equipment carried by the medics was very limited; generally, FFDs, quick clot, blast bandages and if you were lucky some morphine auto injectors, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.
In the world of protective services, we are often charged with the responsibility of having to manage and reconcile between safety and access for our protectees.
As business owners, employees, independent contractors or just private citizens we too are challenged with the dichotomy of managing our personal and professional lives on social media.
Handguns are meant for close-quarter shooting. Think about it; if someone is going to attack, kidnap or rob you on the street, they are going to be close, within conversational range. Now, look around your home or business and see what the maximum distance is that you would have a clear shot at a criminal or terrorist, for most this will be less than 10 yards/meters. This places emphasis on close quarter instinctive shooting over precision target shooting. As part of your training practice for long distance shoots (for handguns, this means over 25 yards), you should try hitting targets out to and over 100 yards. This will improve your handgun skills and show you your capabilities and limitations, but the emphasis should be on close quarter instinctive shooting.
The term ‘Image Projection’ refers to the tactic of presenting yourself as an Alpha personality in order to discourage a confrontation.
In short, dressing like an Alpha personality prompts respect from people (men and women) and makes you look like a hard target (psychologically).
The first two of these tenets involve soft skills which are sometimes referred to as Protective Intelligence (PI) and include situational and tactical awareness skills (route analysis and surveillance detection). The third tenet, Defend, requires hard skills such as the use of firearms and security driving. These hard skills may be required if we were unable to prevent or avoid an attack, and we end up in a situation where we have to survive an ambush. Continuing where we left off in Part One, we will finish covering some of the soft skills involved in Protective Intelligence and then move on to discuss the hard skills.
As is common with us all, we love our gear and we can’t get enough. A common discussion in our Facebook group, The Protective Security Group, is travel gear and equipment.
While not meant to be a comprehensive or ‘cookie-cutter’ list, below I share a typical packing of my ‘go-bag’ which I hope you all find useful; at least as a good baseline to add/subtract from for your travel needs.
If you’ve spent enough time around executive protection professionals, you’re no doubt familiar with the concept of creating a bubble around a protectee. It seems simple enough, right? Create the protocols, vet those with which the protectee interacts, and stringently direct the protectee’s activities without deviation.
In reality, of course, creating a safe environment for those elected officials, business leaders and celebrities who require protection by statute, board decree, or simply because they attract unwanted attention is an enormously challenging task that requires tremendous flexibility and innovation from those responsible. Let’s be honest — while many people who require such protection for their own safety understand and appreciate the necessity, they, including some past and current U.S. Presidents, are not always cooperative when faced with security limitations.
It often comes as a surprise just how much is available, and the nefarious uses it can be put to. OSINT can be applied towards defensive purposes, but we will be looking only at malicious purposes. One of the biggest challenges of OSINT is not merely recognising it as a threat, but encouraging the behavioural change needed to protect against it widely enough. It is not enough simply for a principal to stop posting Instagram pictures of their travels in order to hide them – their colleagues, friends, family, and employees also need to be aware of the need to take care with information which could be misused.
We cast our eye over the main stories impacting the security industry. Here’s what’s appeared on the radar since the last issue.
From an operational perspective, CPs need to go back to fundamentals and apply the golden rules of protection planning and risk assessments to medical scenarios. For instance, from a strategy perspective, many HNW bought ventilators only to later discover that they would never be delivered due to shortage. So, it’s important to think how do we improve our planning and strategy from the outset to account for the unexpected? Scenarios and risks should be assessed as always in a well thought out threat matrix.
It was the height of British military and government involvement in the ill-fated NATO-led effort to crush the Taliban, and Kabul was inundated with people needing close protection services. From diplomats attempting to build infrastructure and civil institutions to corporate honchos sniffing out potential business opportunities, there was no shortage of clients for security firms to pitch. As my conversation with the in-country manager progressed, I broached the subject of IBGs – individual bodyguards. I told him in no uncertain terms that the idea of having an individual effectively carry out the functions of a close protection team was utter and absolute flannel. His response: “Maybe, Bob. But it brings in the dollars!”
Connecting your device to the World Wide Web isn’t an issue when you’re at your place. It’s relatively safe, simple to do, and free of crowded traffic. When you leave the safety of your home to a public area, the story changes. When you connect to public Wi-Fi in different places, making certain you can still connect with people, read online news, and work remotely, are you aware of the risks?
regret that comes from knowing that you could have done more to support a person in life, even if just by offering a kind word or two. Some might think a topic like this has no place in an Alpha industry like Close Protection but consider that a large part of our ranks are pulled from both law enforcement and the military. We can all see how helpful positive reinforcement has been for those stressful careers.
Any delay in the decision-making process increases the difficulty needed to survive an AOP (Attack On the Principal). In a vehicle, delays are measured in tenths of seconds. When you are driving 60 mph, literally in a blink of an eye, you are 17.6 feet closer to the problem and in a second 88 feet closer to the problem. Tony Scotti delivers the science behind protection on the move and how we can dramatically increase the chances of surviving the emergency.
So let me set the stage of this edition of Keeping Your Edge: it’s day 26 of a 30 day musical tour, and I’m currently writing this column in the front lounge of a 38’ Tour Bus. This particular bus has a fully functioning recording studio in the rear, and the THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of […]
When someone asks, “what do you do for a living”? Do you say, I’m a “Bodyguard” or you’re an Executive Protection Specialist? What’s in a name?
In 1920 the 18th amendment was passed marking the start of prohibition and the rise of protection teams. Will we see a repeat of that trend with protection for marijuana?