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When the threat goes up-qualified specialists goes down

Let me be honest about something. As the threat level goes up for a detail or potential detail, the amount of qualified specialists goes down. There are plenty of specialists that can work a detail for crisis management, logistical support and other support value missions, but when you come across a client that has a legitimate threat on him/her, your go-to list is split and short.

Riding around looking cool with Oakleys on in a suit is window dressing when it comes to the real deal that is needed before and after you mount up in the SUVs. There is a wide chasm between a specialist that can do a special event or cover a principal who has threatening phone calls from a shareholder, than that of a principal that is a legitimate target. That is not to diminish the importance of the former but to bring the real attention to the capabilities of the specialist who can really work a high threat detail in CONUS.

As I have opined before, there are a number of EP Specialists that feel that they need to work the sandbox in order to make their BIOs beefier than normal, when in fact they are not trained to do so in a non-permissive environment. Many of these specialists may not even qualify to be effective on a legitimate high threat detail in the US.

We genuinely talk about vetting assets, using alternate routes, unpredictable behaviors, etc and most people can hold a conversation about it. The problem comes when it needs to be implemented and it is second nature. For the most part, the average specialist in the US works a detail by going through the numbers or going through the motions. They fall in a rut that can ruin their internal CPU when it’s time to really go HOT. That is the scary part of this business. In reality the professional and trained executive protection industry is split into 2 categories:

  • The executive concierge protection specialist versus the qualified executive protection specialist.

Take for instance when we tell our detail, “There is a threat of protests at the event”. In reality when we use the word threat in that scenario we really mean “possibility”. Now the specialists that have worked that detail successfully convince themselves that they have worked a high threat detail. Laugh if you want but that’s how these Alpha males think. Conversely, dealing with paparazzi is not a threat. It falls in that embarrassment category that we protect a client from. In many cases, the way we deal with them puts our principals in more danger than the camera and flash do.

The reality is this, specialists who are trained and act professionally do a great job but are not really ready to deal with the real threat details. Complacency sets in when specialists work details that really don’t have a threat per se and a false sense of confidence that, “I can do it all takes over.”

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