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Monday bonus.

http://www.wmagazine.com/celebrities/2008/08/bodyguards?currentPage=1

2 comments

  1. Minister

    Eric, if I may;

    The article you referenced is lovely in its hidden beauty in capturing the classic argument in the difference between body protection and executive protection while also showing an unfortunate and common lack of understanding toward our product by observers and purchasers. I once took a “snobbish” position toward notable or celebrity protection compared to corporate, dignitary or at risk individual protection. When I was responsible for a global business unit to include a P&L I took a closer look at that “market”. What I learned is that there is a genuine space there and once you understand the customer within it, that isn’t going away, you can understand the demand and expectation of product that drives the space.

    Some notables, but not all, will treat their protection like a light switch where executives or dignitaries will treat it more like a dimmer switch. The rules of engagement that executives require are far different than those of notables, not to mention the purse strings. Companies have key man clauses and liability concerns that just don’t weigh on notables as heavily. The cold hard fact of the matter is that C-suite individuals would rather have a professional that knows how to be close enough to work yet not so close he or she needs to be introduced. Most notables have a low value of that dynamic if at all whereas just about all corporate types will demand it. My evolved position is one of first understanding the mission set then protective culture of that type of client thus allowing me to assign the appropriate resource if I were interested in that space. Yet most importantly is the protection specialist’s understanding of where he or she is operating and who for or with. The fact of the matter is you don’t protect a movie star the way you protect a CEO, which applies to the skill of the specialist as well as the potential threat picture. Not to mention the PR piece that both mission sets demand respectively. Now that isn’t to say that the UNTRAINED all black suit, ILS (imaginary lat syndrome) and the proverbial sun glasses are acceptable on any stage, to me that just draws the line called “beyond this point is unprofessional”. To diagnose that I would humbly submit that in both areas our presence and perceived authority by those we encounter is critical to both mission sets yet is unfortunately “geeked” up on speed in the notable’s arena and agree or disagree it is born from the protective culture of that type of client and a lack of healthy mindset development on the part of the specialist. That is why you wind up with gorillas with pony tails, they are a product of the environment and because that type of principal seems to like it that is the accepted attitude.

    I will say I think its not fair to compare Tara Reid to Ehud Olmert so simply; the appropriate response should be to accurately measure ones threat profile and apply the appropriate countermeasures. Not to far back Uma Thurman had a legitimate security concern that law enforcement had to get involved with. And to again be fair, I have been up against Ehud Barak’s team and wasn’t all that impressed. While he was the “former” PM at the time his team, yes the famed Shin bet, didn’t appear to have a solid grasp on the venue, the schedule or likely choreography expected. Now that may have been a snapshot of his day but my briefing advised that he was the keynote speaker so that “suggests” a DM, (documented movement), thus a list of proactive actions on the part of the team. Of which most notables don’t have a high value or management tolerance for not to mention a tolerance to the cost associated with doing good homework. I say all that to simply say there is a difference and while we can allow a client or principal to dictate posture we cannot allow them to dictate standard no matter what the environment is.

    The Biederman and Ripert observations are one dimensional yet understandable, the reason for the difference is simple; the client or the principal demand it, the type of threat the differing teams are looking for but most of all the training and mindset of the specialists themselves. I once saw a photo of Benjamin Netanyahu with his element in a basic circle formation on a beach around him and his family, the family was sitting on a beach blanket, the element was so close I bet the family could guess the brand of deodorant each team member was wearing. Even though it looked as though there wasn’t anyone else on that beach at the time, not knowing what was beyond the borders of that photo, or what ownership they had of any high ground around, I will have to respect the protective culture that that principal has not to mention the threat that those teams are faced with each day. Now anyone that knows me knows that find the notion of the automatic assumption that anyone with a birth certificate from Haifa knows how to do protection is comical. With all due respect that seems to be like a southwestern wildfire in the celebrity market. The fact is that that is a particular attitude that has an application and it doesn’t fit everywhere no matter how cool and sexy your accent is. The trick to EP is being able to protect someone without anyone else knowing, and if possible the principal forgetting. Not only is this beneficial to client relationship its beneficial to threat management. The reality is most notables don’t care, actually desire the opposite or just don’t know any better. No threat can calculate what it cannot measure…. less is more on so many levels. Believe it or not the US Secret Service does this in layers sometimes, you may have the typical in your face package that everyone sees but there is sometimes a watered down package for certain principals they cover that have the typical 2 person element but has another 2 or three in hidden mobile support providing counter surveillance as well as counter assault capabilities.

    I agree with the intent behind Carol’s (ASET Corporation) view on “eating with a principal is a terminating offense”, one caveat I offer is that the situation could dictate but most importantly is that one’s professionalism is critical. The specialist may have gained the confidence of a principal as well as educated said principal on the ups and downs of the relative protective spheres in any given situation. Not to mention the unsaid authority that has been EARNED due to previous discretion and decision making on the part of the specialist. I have sat in the large receiving room just outside the dining room within the palace of a prince responsible for one of the emirates within the UAE as well as sat two people down from my CEO / principal breaking bread with a prince that serves as the Chief of Staff for the King of a pretty large Arab nation we will say. Later on that evening the principal instructed me to step in and purposely yet respectfully bring his participation in the gathering to an end due to his desire to leave. My position in the delegation was that of an undefined aid and while remaining vigilant in my true responsibilities I was sure to round my edges yet not ease into a casual attitude. Bottom line is that that principal knew my function and trusted me to move in and around his intimate space in ultimate support of his success. I say all of that to highlight again the level of professionalism required for some missions and the wide scoping demands some protective cultures require in the professionals that populate them. So, if you are sitting there laughing with food in your mouth wide open and talking about how hot the server is wtih the principal – yes you are wrong.

    One of the mental tools we teach are our choreaography directives, 1. get to the principal, 2. alert-sheild-move the prnicipal 3. secure the area by vision or presence. This soft skill provides a process for the specialist to effectively overlay environment, situation, resource and protective culture. Do it right the venue and its persons may not know you are even there and guess what if
    you are less concerned about who sees you and how hot you look oh and of course if you'll wind up on TMZ, maybe any potential threat wont catch you either. Unfortunatley the unguided rookie buys into that thus multplying the "catfish" population of our craft. Shaw (ICON) points out the value in what we over here call the soft skills, verbal judo he says. Spot on, and the list is even greater and so many schools out there will only offer the trigger work or CDI (chics dig it) factor training. Humility, lack of ego, proactive thought, cordial choreography, protection ethics, etc, not to mention just simple WISDOM within our craft and that comes from doing it over and over and while there isn’t an ONLY way of doing it – there certainly is a RIGHT way of doing it.

  2. BPI Security

    Well put. As we both agree, clients or as you coin the phrase, "purchasers" need to be educated on what they invest in and what they are getting in return for that investment. Moreover, part in parcel to this education phase is also letting them know the difference in the final product. I have evolved in the premise that there is a genuine market for the body protection, I am still disturbed that there is that gray area where they pose as personnel protection specialist thereby diluting the professional gene pool

    It is our absolute responsibility to get the word out to the CEO's on product distinction.

    Eventhough a smart car is made by Mercedes Benz it is not an S-550

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