Working abroad-What not to take for granted

I want to stay on this topic and broach an area that you could easily take for granted while preparing to work abroad. Many foreign underdeveloped countries do not have rental cars like we are used to here in the United States. Many countries that do have rental car companies are still not what we are accostomed to. In the latter example, what they consider a rental car is another version of a limo service. You may indeed rent a vehicle but it comes with driver from that country. The potential issues with that are limitless. I have my own disdain for hired drivers which I have articulated in the past, however using a foreign unvetted service brings upon other issues, too far to list in a daily blog.

In under developed countries where there are no embedded American companies, you have a serious hurdle to jump. Again, your RSO is a great asset to narrow down your choices. The second possible issue is the type of vehicles available and the condition of the vehicles. You really have to immerse yourself in the transportation security aspect of the overall security plan. I would encourage you to meet with the drivers that will be assigned to you and really get into the weeds with them about expectations. I would also initiate some level of background investigation with whatever resources you have. Again, your RSO is a great place to start. He/she has a sworn vested interest in your safe stay in their assigned country.

When I was in West Africa I met with the rental car owner and was very straight forward with him on his responsibilty to work with me and making sure that everything went without a hitch. In my stern conversation with him he told me that the drivers assigned to my client were former agents of the country’s current president. I further revealed that they left their government positions due to pay and not for political reasons. Why was that important? Because this country was a vicitm of 20 years of civil war and many government officials, police officers, and military were removed because they were fomer combatants and supporters of the former brutal regime. The RSO at the time signed off on these 2 drivers as good guys. Considering the country conditions and unlimited bad possibilties, coupled with very limited resources we really lucked out, all things considered.

It’s the small things that can slip pass any security provider and be taken for granted. This is one of them. Obviously, if you travel to more developed countries or cities in Europe you have limitless possibilties for transportation, to include security drivers. It’s in those countries where the “pucker factor” is at 10 and the assets are at zero, where you have to show and reveal your true expertise.

I often get calls from people and non-security companies that plan to travel to west Africa and ask me about the region. West Africa is a very beautiful place to go to, but don’t let the pictures lure you into a false sense.

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