“That’s not on the itinerary!”-Don’t panic

For many new specialists in the industry who find themselves glued to a schedule or itinerary often panic when there is a change in plans.  You spend all morning committing to memory the principal’s schedule and movements for the day.  You start repeating it in your head so that you aren’t caught pulling out a large folded document from your blazer trying to sneak a peak as the day goes by.  You are the quintessential EP Specialist!!

Then the principal’s assistant throws you a curve ball right smack dab in the middle of the day.  “Mr. Jones is going to eat at another location than was originally planned.  Your gradient scale meter goes up and in your head you hear yourself scream, “WHAT!”  I am here to tell you to not panic.  This off the record [OTR] movement actually works on your behalf.  I always assume that as soon as I am handed an itinerary or schedule- EVERYONE knows what we are doing.  If you remember not too long ago President George W. Bush’s itinerary was left by a staffer in a 7-11.  But, if something pops up that is off the record, no one has it in their possession. 

What do you do?  If you have an advance element, you do as you would normally do.  You send them ahead to do a hasty advance and relay the information to you ahead of time or when you arrive on site.  If your advance element is out of position and can not get there before you but you have a follow vehicle, you can have them call ahead and prepare the venue in as much as possible for your arrival.  In some circumstances you can punch the follow vehicle ahead, but that is a decision that has to be made by the detail leader/AIC.  Just remember, what you lose by employing that measure.  You can get the venue advanced and secured for an arrival but you lose your blocking security element in the process.  This technique should only be decided upon by a seasoned and experienced detail leader and not used as an automatic method on every OTR.

Depending on the threat, there is nothing wrong with an arrival sans an advance.  Remember, this is an OTR.  If an attack was planned it would more than likely had been planned at a known location where the attack building blocks were formed.  Doing an unusual movement throws potential attackers at a disadvantage, however this is NOT the time to let your guard down. 

The main thing to understand here is that an OTR works in your behalf and it is not a time to panic. I have seen so-called seasoned specialists lose it when an OTR is thrown at them.

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