Executive Protection Professionals must constantly practice proven tactics that have been specially modified to work in non-hostile and hostile environments. Here are just a few things to consider regarding executive protection details. These tips are a general overview Executive Protection Professionals should consider while working their detail.
1. Vehicle Dynamics. Seasoned EP professionals should have exposure to various aspects of vehicle dynamics. It is important to train in protective and evasive driving skills such as learning how a vehicle communicates, proper driving form and where to look and the constant changing of vehicles.
2. Video Route Reconnaissance. An EP professional should have a minimum of 3 different routes: Primary, secondary’s “A” and “B”. All 3 routes should be reconned at all hours of the day and night…traffic patterns, congestion, light synchronization, routine deliveries, road construction, etc.
3. Body Armor available to all personnel. All personnel should be equipped with proper body armor and gear while on duty.
4. Tactical Vehicle Support. A van, SUV, or some type of tactical vehicle should always be available with additional weapons, ammo, medical supplies, radios, bomb blankets, and armor shields (the round ones are best). An agent can carry a shield with one hand and still be combat effective with the other. The shield allows an agent to provide cover for a fallen agent, or principal. It also allows the team to deploy a complete phalanx of the round shields completely protecting the principal 360 degrees if necessary. The “stomp and drag” method of riot control- is an effective tool for pushing an angry mob backwards to effect the extraction of your principal.
5. Armor Plated Vehicles. If this is not available, then placing bomb blankets on the floor of the vehicle, windows and doors, and ceiling will provide some protection. In addition, you can purchase threat level IV panels and plates separately and insert them inside your vehicle’s door panels.
6. Bomb Dogs. A man’s best friend.
7. Safe houses. A safe house is important to stash cash, weapons, radios, body armor, food, bottled water, and medical bags.
8. ComSec or Communications Security. Cryptic language or “double speak” should be a part of your communications with your team. Team should also be trained on the constant changing of radio frequencies and authentication codes.
9. Sensible Choice in Armament. See may article on the use of shotguns and assault rifles.
10. Duress Signal. Implement. A duress signal for all members of the team to recognize.
11. Improvise Travel. Book a commercial flight, but then at the last minute switch to a standby chartered flight that no one else knows about.
12. Body Doubles. Using a decoy physically resembling your principal is a great technique. Send them off in the EP convoy, and then transport the principal in a common cab or other vehicle.
13. Needle in a Haystack. Where is the best place to hide a needle? Not the haystack….in a box of needles, right?
14. Confidentiality. Keep all information on a “need to know” basis only. Each part of the team has a specific job to do, but only key people need to know the whole operation…the other parts do not. Logic being, if one section of the detail gets captured or compromised, they cannot give up information they do not know.
15. Medical Response. One member of your team should be a certified combat medic, preferably a former Special Forces or Navy Seal Medic. The Managing Agent should maintain a complete medical history file on each agent, including documentation of blood type. This is helpful in the event an agent is injured during detail. Additionally, each agent should issue their own blood to the local blood bank or ER to be held “at the ready” should they be injured in the line of duty. Law Enforcement often does this so they know they are getting their own blood pumped into them as opposed to a stranger’s that may be tainted. The same goes for the principal…they should deposit their own blood to the local hospital in the event they are injured during an attempted attack.
16. Licenses and CCW’S. Almost every state, as well as the ATF, has laws governing the transportation of firearms into and out of their states. Additionally, a tourist CCW is not the same as a working CCW. Carry your license and credentials at all times, including firearm permits.
17. Communicating with Law Enforcement. Each major police department has what is referred to as an “Office of Protocol”. In most cases, the Sr. agent or the “Scout” (agent in charge of route recon) is responsible for communication with local law enforcement, ascertaining and securing all required licenses, permits, and if required, weapons registrations.
For example, in most southern cities, it is lawful to carry weapons with high-capacity magazines (a magazine or “clip” that holds more than 10 rounds). However, in states like California you can only carry a maximum of a 10 round clip unless you have a license or permit to do otherwise.
18. Weapons. As previously stated all personnel should be equipped uniformly. Same model side arm, same model carbine, same calibers, etc. The logic behind this is self explanatory.
19. Training. Prior to the actual detail or mission, the team should train as realistically as possible. Since civilian protection specialists often do not have access to law enforcement or military training grounds, paintball fields are a great venue for these exercises. A team can rent out an entire paint ball field for a nominal fee for several hours, be completely tacked out, and run through a variety of scenarios. You can use family members, friends, co-workers, etc to play roles of protesters, hostages, and aggressors (for training purposes only). They do not need to know anything about the upcoming actual assignment. College ROTC units make fantastic aggressors!
20. Qualities of EP Personnel. Candidates should be prior Military/LEO, fluent in other languages, especially if traveling overseas. Personnel should be unencumbered with families of their own as spouses/children can distract an agent at a critical moment. Take my bad experience for example…I was in “stealth mode” and forgot to put my cell phone on “silence”… it rang 3 feet from a target’s house (loudly enough to be heard in the next county)…I just put my entire detail in jeopardy….for a phone call from a telemarketer…
This is only the tip of the iceberg regarding EP details. Others, who are far more experienced and skilled than I am, may contribute as they see fit via the comments section below this post.