In the past, I viewed Executive Protection (EP) as persons who provided corporate level protection. This was the guy who only walked with the CEO, politician, or other important corporate executives and dignitaries. With my limited understanding, I didn’t think of those who drive these same individuals as being considered Executive Protection agents as well. As an EP specialist, I now understand and have experienced some of the vast role’s EP work will encompass.
Many newcomers in the protection business have a completely different idea of what the profession is, based on what they have heard or what Hollywood tells them it is. This lack of “truth” either leaves them disappointed or leaves them vulnerable to making mistakes while on duty.
It is common in our industry to see many of our colleagues posting pictures on the internet social media sites of “selfies” taken in first-class airline seats or the client’s private jet. More selfies show them with their feet up on a suitcase claiming ‘’another flight”, or posting from 5 and 6-star hotel rooms, or fine-dining restaurants, or next to a limousine parked in front of a private jet.
Did you know: Historically, street crime increases, proportionately, with population growth? Crime in England is accelerating, and according to police figures, the London murder rate has now surpassed that of New York for the first time in modern history. Not only does this place the general public at risk but arguably, it exposes the front-line security operator to even greater danger.
Having dug around in the last year to see what’s going on with security training courses at home and overseas, it would appear that there is a gap between what’s acceptable, to what’s a complete rip off, and that gap is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
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.
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.
If you take the four areas that are part of the traditional military model: gymnastics/calisthenics (bodyweight exercise), outdoor obstacle courses (moving efficiently through a range of environments), combat sports (boxing, grappling etc), speed marching (bipedal locomotion); these intrinsically include the main focus physical qualities: mobility, strength, reaction speed, coordination, balance and cardiorespiratory function. If these areas are incorporated into a physical fitness programme, treated as a skill and kept in the majority at a low/medium intensity with bouts of high intensity, the result will be a well-rounded human capable of thriving in the diversities of the modern life.
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.
Over 30 years ago, when I left a failing white-Collar industry in a failing economy in Texas, I did what many in my predicament did. I entered the contract security industry at near minimum wage. What I did that many others did not, was survive in the industry long enough to out earn annually what I was earning in my previous profession.
From the time we are indoctrinated into this Industry, we hear the phrase “Head on a Swivel”! This ancillary movement of moving one’s head 180 degrees side to side is taught to familiarize the specialist with scanning areas or crowds for suspicious activity or persons. At first, it’s over exaggerated, you appear to be nervous, very bobble head like, anxious, your adrenalin surges through your veins, but WHAT DO YOU SEE? If you see something, WHAT IS IT? Do you UNDERSTAND what it is you’re seeing? If so, now can you now PROJECT? And if so, can you now RESPOND? Oh, and can you do it in mili-seconds? For many, the answer is NO and for the many that can’t in truth say yes, I offer this article.
The struggle will be experienced by every single one of us, at differing intensities, durations and regularities; it is one of the only true guarantees in life.
Protection officers worldwide who have extensive unarmed combat training will unreservedly answer this question with; “Of course!! How can a protection officer not have any self-defense or unarmed combat training! How can a protection officer not know how to physically protect?”
Given the nature of close protection and the conditions under which operators are expected to perform, it is imperative for those providing protective services to be highly developed, multi-disciplined individuals. However, beyond the obvious technical skills reqauired to execute well-drilled procedures, modern operators are expected to display more nuanced skills such as emotional intelligence, candour, judgement and resourcefulness to list but a few. So, how can understanding our personality type help us become better in our roles as close protection operatives? To answer this, we need to have a basic understanding of the factors influencing the various personality traits.
From a physical training perspective, the evolution of my own personal practice, my approach to nutrition and what I advise for the general population has dramatically changed over these years.
Providing protective services requires a mind set that differs dramatically from the norm. This line of work demands a forward-thinking anticipation of what might occur and developing solutions on how to mitigate those risks. How does this differ from the norm? Half of the people on this planet are categorized into below average intelligence. Humor […]
As a Protection Specialist, are you training to develop your skills or are you lying to yourself and your clients about your readiness? Poor security and protection fools no one but the person providing it. Commit to training and making an investment in your future.
You need to be aware of how criminals and terrorists operate and what they look for in their victims; if you know this, you can hopefully avoid becoming a victim yourself.