What Threat are you referring to?

Yesterday on the NABA site there was an intriguing conversation started that veered off into a separate conversation by a specialist named Benjamin Alozie.  As the new conversation started I was reminded of a topic that I wanted to blog about some time ago but it had slipped my mind.  The topic could have been included in the 4 part series I did last week but I will write about it now.

Many specialists, new and seasoned commonly blurt out that they want to work a high threat detail.  I jokingly will ask them, “What threat are you referring to?”  The response is usually silence coupled with a stare that clearly says, “What you talkin bout Willis?”  Then to further the conversation I ask, “High threat to the client or high threat in the environment?”  That’s when it always amazes me that many haven’t considered the difference and that the difference also means that their training is insufficient for any non-permissive environment.  Even with the best training, the mental capacity to endure a constant dose of adrenaline is foreign to many.  Working a principal with a high threat against their lives in Miami is much different that protecting a widget developer in Iraq or any of the Stans.  Watch what you put on your wish list.  Here is a quick simplified reason.  In the first scenario, you are and should be able to conduct all of the Executive protection proactive measures with the city you are operating.  The threat is coming from a person or group.  You are able to move about pretty much freely. You can acquire and maintain support from within the AO.  In the second scenario the threat is the Environment.  Your protectee may be unknown to the entire globe, however the environment is a threat to him, you and the team.  You have limited to NO support and if things go bad EVERYONE has to resort to their training and the training of their team.

I have mentioned before that I am amazed at the amount of specialists that have a lust for working in austere environments yet don’t have a clue to the shift in training and mindset that is necessary for mental survival, no less physical.  While I am on this topic lets dispel the myth that the only high threat environment that you may work in is the middle east.  That narrow mindedness will get you, your principal, and team killed.  There are more non permissive environments to operate in than the places you hear about daily on the news.  Make sure you get a full country assessment before you put your team together as well as before you sign up to go with a team that has no real experience in that platform.

While I am on this topic I wanted to bring up another glaring issue that I touched on in the discussion yesterday.  A client rarely, if ever, will drive your rate, however a non-permissive environment WILL.  Too often, companies will raise their hourly or daily rate based on the client’s net worth.  THAT IS WRONG!  Your pricing scale for Bill Gates should not be different from Joe Smuckatelli the widget developer.  The other issue I have seen is that companies will raise their rates just because the detail is traveling overseas.  If you are traveling to England with a notable, the overseas factor does not warrant an over zealous elevated rate.  I am not trying to tell you how to rob, I mean bill your clients, but it’s killing the industry/client relationship.  Conversely, just because you made $1,000 a day in Irag, don’t expect that back in CONUS.  Yea I know you have all that high speed ninja experience, but the environment and market pricing is different-Welcome home.

I wanted to leave today’s blog pretty general and leave some open room for comments.  There are other factors within the non-permissive environment subject but I purposely left that out for a healthy discussion


  1. Leon S Adams

    Thought provoking blog as usual, Eric.


    1. Eric Konohia

      Thanks as usual Leon, I appreciate your support and understanding of the industry and its needs.

  2. Josh

    I too am amazed at how many people “romanticize” the job and feel a constant need for action. Being “switched on” is a mindset…I can stay just as cool during a relatively low-key event as I can during mass chaos.

    And your statement about high-threat not being specific to the Mid-East is spot on. I was doing a detail for an A-list celebirty during the Super Bowl this past February. 2 agents moving a client through thousands of fans not only protectiong the client,but maintaining self-discipline and mindset to keep cool and not let the environment get the best of you…it’s a different type of high-threat but exists none the less!

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