Protective Intelligence 2.

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Executive Protection Evolved
EP Specialists and Industry Groups Emerge

Over the course of almost four decades, and starting with the 1970’s increasingly sophisticated efforts by the US Secret Service to protect presidents and dignitaries from a growing number and typology of threats, the personal/executive protection profession has undergone a drastic transformation, particularly in the commercial space. As the profession matured, a shift began to take place from bodyguards to ‘protection (or EP) specialists’ with a broader and more diverse skill set. The strictly here and now focus of the former – physically shielding the principal’s body as he/she negotiated crowds or faced a potential attacker – began to make way to a wider-range threat manager and responder role, with the skills to deal with a medical emergency or a potentially embarrassing situation, and a duty to analyze past events and plan for the future. EMT certifications and advance survey skills gradually outranked firearms proficiency and martial arts’ black belts in the preferred qualifications list of anyone expected to provide EP services to corporate clients in most industrialized nations. This evolution reflected the growing stature and credibility of the role of security directors or chief security officers among Fortune 500 and other multinational corporations, and the maturing of the risk mitigation consulting industry catering almost exclusively to this audience. Both camps succeeded in making the case for increasingly professional and sophisticated threat management practices and protective operations that would extend not only to overseas assets or high-value products across the logistics chain, but also to senior executives and their families. As these became increasingly targeted either by extreme environmentalists or anti-corporate movements, and traveled to a growing number of international destinations where globalization had created enormous business opportunities as well as grave security challenges, the protection specialists assigned to c-level executives and board members would ideally be able to conduct awareness training for staff and family members, evaluate and recommend technical surveillance countermeasures, speak foreign languages, liaise with local intelligence and law enforcement personnel, and hopefully ‘fit-in’ in circumstances where a Terminator demeanor, the bulging jacket, and a limited vocabulary would be more likely to cause embarrassment than comfort. During this time, a handful of civilian training programs (i.e. Executive Security International, the Executive Protection Institute, etc.,) and a few consulting outfits, contributed to the definition and growth of a professional standard, building a strong reputation in specialized markets, more or less along the three major professional ‘camps’ that emerged within the EP community: ... Continue reading “Executive Protection Evolved”

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