Order your steps or fall on your face

The detail on Friday had been in the planning phase for awhile before I put the actual operational responsibilities in place.  When I assigned the protective advance responsibility to Rhino he knew how the night would unfold and I cut him loose to do his thing.  I sent out the OpOrder to everyone using assigned call-signs for our guests.  None of my specialists knew the true identity of the protectee(s) prior to arriving on location.  This was kept tight amongst 3 people, myself, the POC and the guest.

When me and Rhino arrived on site, we staged the victor and I advised him to walk me through the advance.  I made no changes to his plan.  Many seasoned specialists feel that they need to add changes to give their own personal flair.  If there is a way to lose your specialists confidence in their job, making an un-necessary change will do it.  If there is a true tactical or operational rationale to change something it is very important on how you change that without killing morale.  After he gave me the walk through we ate and I mentally went through the plan in my head so that it would not take any second guessing once we went HOT.

As the guys trickled in to the rally point, Mark showed up and briefed the team on how he wanted the coverage to be conducted.  Running an overwatch scheme is not easy for everyone.  You run into problems when you have specialists that have a problem working covert and “slick”.  The “I need to be seen as working” desire is hard to subside for alpha males.  Females have an easier transition and meld into the environment with ease.

I left them at the rally point knowing that Mark’s leadership skills and my specialists expertise would prevail as always.  Rhino walked the entire team through the advance and the stage was set for an arrival.  Me and the POC meandered and mingled with the other invited guests.  Funny note here: One of the invited guests did not know who I was and as I stood amongst the other guests, he felt that I was too close to his bags.  He walked over to the bag and removed his personal items [wallet, cell phone] and put them in his pocket.  I laughed but totally understood.  Later that evening when we were formally introduced I found out that he was another accomplished writer and we laughed.

The entire detail was planned out and ordered so that the evening would unfold as they should.  Planning any detail should be done that way.  Even if you have to use a phase line format.  If you do things in an unorganized way, you are planning to fail.  Multiple movements within a day should be broken down as movement to movement and not clumped together as just a full days work.  To that point I always address the movements by the time and not the location.  For instance I may say, “Are we set for the 1500 movement.”  I never say, “Are we ready to go to the meeting at XYZ office.”


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