The 2023 Executive Protection Guide. What You Need to Know About EP.

EP Agencies provide protective solutions for people exposed to risk, most often high or ultra-high net-worth earners.

Table of Contents

Part A – What is Executive Protection?

An Executive Protection (EP) Program can range from being pretty simple to extremely grand in scope. A highly effective Program is most commonly executed using three (3) strategies, each geared at proactively protecting high net worth individuals. Every strategy has a separate function and is deployed in concert with the others to identify and mitigate risk.

Bodyguarding is the most popular role in the close protection space, but it does however differ from Executive Protection in a pretty signifiant way. Put briefly, the primary difference is two words; Proactive vs Reactive

Executive Protection (EP) is a proactive risk mitigation method with the core purpose of providing solutions for concerns involving risk, threat, access, confidentiality, and logistics. While Bodyguards are known for only reactively responding to unwanted intrusions on their clients.

1. Protective Intelligence

The process of gathering digital information to help prevent physical attacks. By identifying threats, assessing the level of risk, and determining the likelihood of execution. 

Once a Person Of Interest (POI) is identified, intelligence analysts systematically process and collect the needed information. They then immediately pass the information and begin monitoring and tracking the POI’s web activity, while simultaneously comparing their past behaviors.

The protective intelligence team can communicate the critical information to the Close Protection Agents in the field. 

2. The Protective Advance

The strategic planning and groundwork period before the close protection detail arrives with the protectee. 

During the advance, the EP team selects the best routes, identifies safe locations for emergencies, and conducts Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures (bug sweeps) of meeting rooms or lodging locations. This period is also when the team will liaise with trusted (and vetted) local drivers, law enforcement, government authorities to ensure all necessary assets will be informed and in place. 

The protective advance is an essential, sometimes underutilized portion of the protection plan.

3. Close Protection

The critically important, physical element of an Executive Protection program. 

Skilled Close Protection Agents overtly & covertly safeguard people exposed to risk against physical harm, embarrassment, or diminished public perception. They use their knowledge of non-verbal cues & pre-attack indicators, advanced first aid, verbal persuasion, defensive tactics, and protective firearms skills to keep their clients safe, productive, and unhindered throughout each day. 

Close protection is always necessary as it is the only layer that can address the opportunist type of attacker.

Part B – Who Needs Executive Protection (and Why)?

Executive Protection, when performed properly goes well beyond its obvious protective functions. A respectable Executive Protection Agency also understands their role in ensuring client confidentiality, ease of movement, time management, desired public perception and overall productivity.

Corporate Executives

Corporate Executives are some of the most common users of Executive Protection services, “executive” is even in the name. Some key reasons an executive should consider an EP Program are:

  1. Protecting the company’s most valuable asset(s). C-level executives drive a great amount of value on a daily or arguably an hourly basis for their organizations, for C-suite executives even a comprehensive EP program is but a fraction of their salary and an even smaller fraction of their overall financial impact. For these reasons many Boards mandate a protection program for their at risk executive. This has partly to do with “Standard of Care”. Standard of care doesn’t just apply to Doctors and Law Enforcement Officers, in the case of a publicly traded entity, the board has a duty to protect not only its employees but also its investors. Anything that can stop an executive from producing can have a major effect on stock price.
  2. Admittedly less common, but certainly still a reality is Competitive Surveillance. CEOs and other high level executives walk around with intellectual property in their heads that could be worth millions if not billions. Aggressive competitors contract PI Firms to follow the executive around to document who they meet with and for how long, where they travel to and with whom, they could even be hoping to witness an affair for blackmail material.
  3. Logistics & Time Management. This is one of the most powerful value-adds for any executive considering upgrading their protection strategy. EP Agents use preplanning and time management skills to ensure efficient arrivals and departures to help keep the executive on-time, while allowing them to focus only on their current task or next meeting. Having an Agent know exactly where to enter, which elevator was reserved, the name of the office manager standing by to grant access to the meeting space, all the way down to if the execs chair is facing the window or not is invaluable.

Politicians & Foreign Dignitaries

Political figures are also amongst some of the most common users of Executive Security Services. Along with the general risks listed above they are specifically prone to the following 3 risks: 

  1. Attack due to differing political views, by the nature of their profession politician’s political views and opinions are very public. Everyone knows politics is one of the two most powerful emotional triggers in our community. This point leads into risk number.
  2. Risk of political assassination or Kidnapping attempts. While extremely uncommon assassinations and Kidnappings are, and should be, always in the conversation when discussing the protection of prominent political figures or public activist. An emotionally charged attacker can believe they are saving their nation by taking the life of someone who not only has different foundational beliefs, but also has the influence to implant those beliefs into policy.
  3. Events are often open to the public and announced on multiple media platforms. Due to this fact Dignitaries and Politicians have unavoidable high visibility at times, and often not as much government allocated protection as one might think.

Celebrities & Influencers

Celebrities & Influencers often shop for “bodyguarding” services but depending on income and influence, often actually require an EP program. Celebrities are the public figures who need Close Protection Services most often, their inherent risks overlap with all other Persons exposed to risk categories. 

They are often stakeholders in multiple businesses, they have a great need for assistance with day-to-day logistics and time management, and at times their location is announced to the public. Along with those Celebrities and Influencers have their own set of more common risks.

  • Aggressive fans. While CEOs or Politicians may have energetic supporters or followers, no group faces the “Aggressive Fan” quite like celebrities. Crazed fans have a sense of ownership over their favorite actor, musician or influencer, and use that as personal justification to push past other fans, and even Law Enforcement to ask for a selfie or a hug.
  • Stalking. As if pushing had forcefully extending a hug wasn’t bad enough, some fanatical fans feel it’s their right to be more intimately a part of the influencer’s life. We hear stories of celebrities arriving home to an unknown person in their bed, or at their office everyday for weeks at a time demanding a lunch with them.

Part C – Types of Executive Protection

Secured Transport

Secured Transport is often packaged into Executive Protection Services. It employs skilled drivers who are trained protection professionals capable of conducting route surveys, recognizing and establishing safe havens, creating alternate-route plans, and developing emergency evacuation plans, all while ensuring client comfort.

High Threat Protection

High Threat protection is necessary when a HNWI is directly targeted by a specific group or groups with violent intent. One effective strategy is to deploy a low-profile, high-readiness approach to effectively secure the person exposed to risk. This tactic helps ensure that opportunistic (amateur) attackers are unaware of opportunity, while also being fully prepared to discover, and decisively address skilled attackers before they have the ability to act.

Covert Protection

Covert Protection is an undetectable Close Protection strategy for individuals who require all the safety and peace of mind of standard Executive Protection, without the increased public attention.

Residential Executive Protection

Residential Security, also referred to as Estate Security is a 24/7 protective service for the homes of high net worth individuals. The purpose of an estate’s safety & security program is to safeguard the family, staff & visitors; the residence’s structure, vehicles & valuables; and to ensure privacy from the general public. 

Services typically begin with a thorough Risk, Threat & Vulnerability Assessment, and include electronic security measures installation, maintenance, and monitoring, armed and/or unarmed residential security officers, access control, and vendor management. Having Residential Security Offices is necessary for maintaining the home as a place for rest and family time.

Corporate Complex Executive Protection

Corporate Executive Protection, or Corporate Security, is an essential element of keeping an organization’s executives and employees not only safe but also productive in the workplace. 

Operating a corporate office unfortunately brings many unavoidable risks and vulnerabilities. Corporations today have the cumbersome task of being prepared for workplace violence, active shooters, domestic violence issues brought from home, and outside criminal acts such as theft, burglary, or hostile surveillance. That’s quite the burden for having nothing to do with your core business. 

It is simply impossible to eliminate all risks, so it becomes that much more crucial that organizations have A-Z policies and procedures for staff to follow, a thorough Safety & Security plan to keep that staff safe and a team of professionals to carry out that plan.

Corporate Event Protection

The corporate event security team plays a major role in the overall success of the event. When properly integrated into the event design, the security team will aid in the overall flexibility of the event. The security team should be an event organizer’s partner in time management, event outcome, servicing special guests, ushering vendors, pre and post-event evaluating & reporting, and logistics. 

They should, of course, be capable of conducting the typical security functions of vendor vetting, crowd control, controlling access points, mitigating property damage, securing special guests, responding to medical issues, and professionally handling troublesome attendees.

Travel Executive Protection

Executive travel is arguably the most dangerous time for an executive’s work and private life. While traveling, any person exposed to risk must realize that the risk is multiplied. With unfamiliar locations, road & routes, cultures, languages, criminal behaviors, pre-attack indicators, and resources, comes an unavoidable increased level of risk. 

Domestic travel is perceivably less risk-prone in comparison to international, however, it is never without some degree of elevated risk.

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