Anyone considering using or providing executive protection services needs a solid understanding of the five subjects explained in this post. This includes needs analysis; threat assessment; protective security; service requirements; and resources.
Not only should public figures, high net worth individuals and senior executives consider the following information for their benefit, but so also should those who are in a support or managerial role: Human resources managers, executive assistants and security supervisors should have a firm understanding of the basic tenets of executive protection. Every business needs to account for the protection of all capital, the most important of which is human capital.
Many people think of cartoonish imagery when executive protection services are mentioned: Large armed men wearing sunglasses, patrolling the perimeter of an event and talking to each other through ear pieces. Although in some cases, that may be an accurate portrayal of the industry, it isn’t always.
This is where needs analysis comes in. A good security firm will conduct a careful analysis of the actual security needs of the executive. Sometimes this results in an overt presence; other times a more subtle approach. Although physical protection is a top priority, the best firms will also make reputation security a very close second. There is no need for an intimidating, over the top security team unless that presence is a benefit to the operation. Also consider that the approach may change even if the client doesn’t. Someone who just made a very unpopular yet public decision could benefit from an obvious presence. However, at a more tranquil period in the executives career, such an effort may be overkill.
Threat assessment is a key part of the planning involved in providing executive security. It can help in the following two aspects of executive protection– protective security and service requirements.
Protective security is what most people think of when thinking of executive protection. This focuses on the physical security of the client. Of course there are widely applicable practices that will need to be employed with every client, but a good security firm goes above and beyond the no-brainers. This is where a robust threat assessment can really help. Take the following aspects of any detail into consideration when using a threat assessment to plan protective security:
- Event management details: what is the agenda of the event and who is organizing it? Is it a high profile, public event, or an intimate private affair?
- Attendance: What other people are attending the event? Other high profile characters will increase publicity, media attention and general risk.
- Location: Will the event be at a single location, or will the client be moving between locations? Get a detailed understanding of all locations the client will be at, including emergency exits, alternate routes in and out, and tactically problematic areas.
- Routes: Conduct some walk-through recon of the entrance and exit routes. Scout for vulnerabilities and even consider counter surveillance.
Considering all of these factors will help you provide a robust and customized protection detail for your client.
While the above mentioned are the foundation of a good protection effort, the top firms will go also explore additional service requirements. Protecting the reputation and public image of the client can be a factor that separates a run-of-the-mill firm from a really top notch one. An individual with a very high profile image needs to be careful of what is and is not captured by the public at these kind of events.
But reputation security is just one of the many other services a protection detail can offer. The best private security teams will also help with communications (both internally among the client’s party and externally with the public); protection and consideration of family members; and even preparedness to provide emergency services beyond just security (think medical/first aid). Of course, there is no limit to the amount of help an executive protection team can provide, so the best planners will use their imagination in coming up with additional service requirements.
After a detailed plan is formed, the firm must now select what resources to use for a given assignment. First and foremost is the selection of personnel. Teams on the ground must be suited for the formulated plan perfectly.
In general, the most versatile assets will be skilled in all duties they may be required to perform, yet disciplined enough to accurately determine when and where they must employ their skills. Top team members will also exhibit an ability to think on the fly and analyze each occurrence within the broader framework of the overall mission objective and specifications. Finally, excellent situational awareness is key, as the circumstances of executive protection can change rapidly from one moment to the next. Additionally, any special skills particularly suited to a client or task should be considered. Whether it is ability to work with a certain age group or personality type, or even language skills that may come in hand if in a foreign country or dealing with certain demographics.
Personnel selection is just as important as planning protective security and additional service requirements. After all, the best laid plans can come crumbling apart if the team on the group is incapable of following it.