You know you need a mentor when…

Over the past few years I have tested specialists that claim they are well versed in methodology of protective advance work.  On a detail about 2 years ago I assigned one of my specialists as the lead advance specialist and assigned a new specialist, that had been a self proclaimed expert specialist.  I told my lead advance specialist to allow the new guy to do the protective advance for one of the venues.  I also instructed him to allow the new guy to have 3 full days to put his advance packet together and submit it directly to me.  What the new guy didn’t know is that I had already done the protective advance of the venue, but this was a test to see where he actually was with his self proclaimed expertise.

He submitted the packet to me within the required time.  As I went through the information it was clear that he had performed a “Site assessment’ and not a protective advance.  He had pictures of every door, window, stairwell and elevator but nothing to do with the protective aspect of our visit.  Fundamentally his process [training] was flawed because for the amount of time that he had been cut loose on the street he had been led to believe that what he was doing and producing was the right “stuff”.

After I instructed him on where he was deficient, he gave me some push back and said that no one has ever questioned his version of an advance.  The scarey part is that there are other specialists and company owners that feel that an assessment of a venue, building or otherwise is a proper protective advance..

A site assessment is different from a site security assessment and much different than a protective advance.  Just as a survey trip is different than an advance trip.  And lastly the difference between a threat assessment and a threat and vulnerability assessment.  If you do not understand the differences or think that there are no differences you are WRONG.

The specialists that I am mentoring are given tasks where I instruct them exactly what I need through their process of performing the protective advance.  That way they learn through the process of performing.  After our final exercise in the MTMS course we debrief on the following day and go over their “Process” during the protective advance and the day of the detail.  That way they learn where they were deficient and take note on where they forgot what they learned. 

Every opportunity is a learning and teaching moment.  When you run into a specialist that needs guidance, help them.  On the other hand when someone is trying to help you, humble yourself and learn.


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