Child’s play in EP

We have all heard of the old playground game “Leap frog” where one child is bent over at the waist and the next child leaps over him/her and catapults himself a short distance in front of the first child that was bent over.  The premise was to move as a team of kids to advance to a further location.  As kids, the location didn’t really matter, we just went somewhere.

Well as silly as it may seem to us 20+ years later, the term is a vital tactical procedure used by protection teams.  One of the prevailing terms I use all the time in reference to private sector EP is resources and resource management.  Leap frogging is a resource management tactic.  The premise is simple and is similar to the playground game.  There are many ways you can use the leap frog tactic, traveling from city to city, venue to venue and so on.  For the sake of this example I will use a personal experience that you can draw from and use in your operations.

About 10 years ago we were tasked to travel across the country with a former Vice President of the United States during a book signing tour.  The protection element consisted of 2 teams.  Each team had a detail leader and 2 protection specialists.  I was on Team-2.  The detail leader of Team-1 picked up the protectee at his home and flew private to the first city.  2 days prior to their departure into the first city, the 2 specialists of team-1 had already landed and started the advance of the book signing venues.  When the DL and protectee landed they were waiting at the FBO for them.  Somewhere along that time we [Team-2] landed at the second city where all of us conducted the advances together.  Once the first city was complete and the principal was placed on his private jet, Team-1 boarded commercial planes and “Leap frogged” to location 3.  That’s how it works.  The fortunate part was that our principal was used to this maneuver and after city 2 he knew that he’d see us after the next city.

This tactic is very good on resource management when it comes to purchasing plane tickets, renting cars and you won’t find yourself doing logistic calculus that many of us have found ourselves doing. It is a very fluid tactic. We all did the advances together because our window in each city was short and we did all the driving.  There was very little time for error.  We all imparted our expertise but the final decision was made by the DL in regards to routes, arrivals and departures.  In many cases you don’t have that luxury.  I was very fortunate that my detail leader was a highly regarded and respected former USSS agent Karen Barry.  Karen, affectionately known as, “Toots” to her colleagues was a legend in the Service.  She started her career in the Uniform Division and broke the transfer barrier from UD to Agent after she tackled a protester inside a venue where the current President at the time was speaking.  She was called in and asked to join PPD.

This was the first time I had been a part of city to city leap frog tactic but it stuck to me to the point that we use it all the time.

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