The Fundamental Importance of an Advance as an Executive Protection agent
As a leader in the military I found myself planning complicated, sensitive and oftentimes, dangerous missions in both permissive and non-permissive environments around the world. A lot of the time, I never had the opportunity to do an advance, or as we called it in the military, a pre-deployment site survey. We often found ourselves gathering information via several sources accessible to us and coming up with the best plan, in theory, to execute the mission at hand. One thing that quickly became clear to me was this: when you have the opportunity to visit a location ahead of time, you should take it. This is a philosophy that carries over directly into the Executive Protection world. The better you can understand and visualize a situation, the better you become at planning and execution.
VIP Close Protection details are dynamic and will vary depending on several factors: Location, type of detail, threat assessment, roles and responsibilities etc. Every agent should have a base knowledge and some practical experience conducting advances, but a lot will be learned and improved upon with time and repetition. No matter the experience level, an in-depth checklist should be used when involved in mission planning. A checklist will act as a methodical data gathering system and will act as a fail-safe to make sure all essential information is accounted for. A master checklist should be kept on hand and then tailored for the specific mission at hand.
Prior to working a detail, you will be given some basic information about your up-coming job and client. This is a good time to research and gather additional information to aid you in your advance. With the availability of information via the internet, some of the data that you initially need can be easily obtained before you even leave your office. Venue/site information, routes and local service information will aid you in understanding the situation in which you are about to enter. If you are unfamiliar with this client, gathering open source intelligence will help you develop a better understanding of your client’s personality and assist you in developing a basic threat assessment.
With navigation apps readily available, it can seem redundant to travel a route in person, but I always recommend traveling your planned path ahead of time. Reviewing a route in person will allow you to not only familiarize yourself with the directions and associated landmarks, but also to check for any impediments that may not be shown on your app. Alternate and tertiary routes can also be verified and added to your plan at this time.
When arriving at your site/venue, determine where you will be parking, dropping, valeting etc. This is also a good time to meet with your point of contact, if you have one. Have your POC walk you through everything on your itinerary from start to finish. If you do not have a POC or an itinerary, you can gather the general information on your own. Visit all applicable locations and get a thorough understanding of the area layout, this will allow you to provide good customer service to your client and to plan for contingencies from a security standpoint. When leaving the site, make sure to browse over your checklist and verify that you have gathered all necessary information. Make sure you have items annotated such as contacts, layouts and any other pertinent information.
Once you have done an on-site advance, you should have enough information to plan how the detail should generally run from start to finish. One key factor that needs to be addressed is planning for contingencies. Contingency planning should encompass every aspect of the mission planning process. For every step, you should analyze the situation and visualize things that could go wrong or may need to be adjusted and have an alternate plan in place. The most extreme level of contingency planning should include your Emergency Action Plan (EAP.) Your EAP should take account any facets of the detail that could devolve into an emergency situation: medical emergencies, physical attacks, natural disasters etc. Have a plan in place for these situations and know where the nearest emergency services are in relation to your location(s).
Advancing a site gives you better overall insight into how a detail should run. It not only allows you get a visual and physical representation, but also gives you a more complex list of data that can aid you in developing a risk assessment as well as planning a detail from both a security and customer service standpoint. Utilize a running check list and make sure you add/edit it as your experiences evolve. In my opinion, nothing determines the outcome of a detail more than the effort that is put into planning it. Remember, plan for the worst, but hope for the best.
Our Students Say
As a former law enforcement officer I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what it would take to be a good Executive Protection Specialist but it's a whole different ball game when you don't have the weight of a badge behind you. Although this course was basically fundamentals, I felt it helped bridge the gap between my experience as a law enforcement officer and the EP field. Although I had done a lot of similar range work before I found the firearms portion of the course work to be very professional and well executed and could see how this would be a great course for someone new to the field. Thanks for a great course.Josh Huntington Beach, CA
I've been in Executive Protection here in LA since returning from a tour in Iraq in 2005. I think a lot of people who are interested in this field are under the misconception that being a cop, soldier or bouncer will give them all the tools they need to be effective in the EP field. Far from it. These jobs may provide a foundation but they don't provide a true understanding of the dynamics of Executive Protection. Your course was a good introduction to the ins and outs (and potential pitfalls) of EP work. Whether or not someone is new to the field or, like me, just trying to maintain perishable skills, I highly recommend this course.Don Los Angeles, CA
I just wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend your CPR course. I know your focus is primarily training bodyguards but as a mother of two I wanted to learn CPR 'just in case.' I never realized there was such a difference between CPR for adults and CPR for infants. I now feel comfortable that if something bad were to happen I have the ability to do CPR. Thank you again.Larissa Courpus Christi, TX
I just want to say thank you to ASC for everything. After I graduated I got a call from ****** Security about my interview that I had with them on the last day of school. They said that the skill set and training I received from ASC (along with my military background) place me far beyond the average person who applied for a job with their company. And because of that they want to hire me not as a security guard, but as a shift supervisor. I couldn't believe it. One of my fears about starting my career and security was that I would graduate from training and not receive any job offers. However since graduating ASC I've been offered two jobs (one as a supervisor and one as a guard) and the pay for both are great. The money I'm going to start making is way more than what I was before so for that I want to say thank you. It was because of you guys that my life changed course and now the possibilities are ever-changing. Be sure to pass my thanks to Connor, Omer, Ryan, Jake, Ian, Steve and the rest of the guys.Jovidean Sun Valley, CA