The Liaison Detail Leader

The full capacity of a detail leader goes well beyond riding in that front right seat.  Yes, once you have elevated to that premiere position you are at that tip of the spear under most definitions of the protective detail.  BUT, you job as a detail leader is in many cases the liaison to the client and principal when you are dealing with events, venues and intermingling with official protection.

You should always assume that your POC to the client has no security understanding….that’s a safe baseline to start with.  That way you never assume that any info or intel you gather from your advance team or site specialists are common sense to the client, their schedule and the principal’s agenda.  Let me give you a real life scenario.

A couple years ago we had a 7 man close in team on a Principal who represented a huge organization.  The organization was celebrating their centennial anniversary.  During this week long event there were several off site movements from the main venue along with countless inner venue movements.  Through my attendance at the numerous event planning phase I was told that POTUS would be speaking on  a certain day.  I immediately knew that this would cause a freeze in movement within the venue at a certain time.  I invited myself to the Pre-con meeting after I was told that it was not necessary to attend.  Non security personnel telling an experienced specialist that it was not important to liaise with the USSS.  Ahhh….Wrong.

At the conclusion of the pre-con I made a B-line to the Lead Advance agent and went through the pre-requisite challenge and response.  I told him that I needed to have my principal within the secured area to introduce POTUS.  The fact that I knew how their process unfolds prior to the President’s arrival, and respected what they had to do, he made accommodations for us that, to this day, I have NOT heard have been given to a private company.  I have spoken to several retired and active duty agents who said, ” That was huge.”  Either way I had to convey this to the POC and to the principal so that all parties knew when and where they needed to be in order to have my principal on point to make the introduction.

Knowing all prevailing factors and their possibilities is a huge factor and responsibility of the detail leader.  More importantly, knowing the information and not conveying how it will affect the principal’s movement and scheduling is useless.  For instance, if you are staying at the same RON with a foreign dignitary and after speaking to someone on their team you procure that they will have a departure or arrival at a certain time that conflicts with yours, you need to speak to the client POC and/or the Principal for deconfliction issues.  If they are going to have a 0800 departure, I add 45 minutes to the front end for safety.  So I will tell my principal that between 0715 and 0815 we may have an issue with leaving.

This is what Mark calls that Gray matter that separates the elite from the average.  An average detail leader is still in the Journeyman group however an elite detail leader resides in group 3 – the Professional.


  1. No Chow

    Believe Eric when he says to assume that your POC has no security knowledge…. A few weeks back, I was commissioned as a Security Driver for a visiting COO of a large software firm. The POC specifically requested a Security Driver. I met with the POC prior to picking up the COO. I explained that our advance packet had “suggested” routes to all our venues, and that some of the travel times allotted were insufficient. The POC was amicable and seemed to understand. As the detail progressed, the POC became frustrated that I was deviating from the “suggested” routes. In private, I explained my reasons for deviation; traffic, accidents, and in one case, multiple armed crimes happening in an area, just prior to passing thru. The POC proceeded to contact my “boss” and complain that I was wasting their time by not driving direct routes. It became very obvious that the POC had no clue what a “Security” Driver does. Even with my boss’ and my own tutoring, he was still no getting it. At the end of the day, the COO was safe, and made all of his appointments. My boss’ faith in my decisions was apparent. He tried to temper the POC, to no avail. We came to the conclusion that the POC thought all “Security” Drivers were like the famous “Frank” from “The Transporter” movies.

    1. Eric Konohia

      Great example No Chow.

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