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Consider Leaving it Open

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As a practioner and instructor of close protection, I focus more and more of my time and attention on the two things most important in the close protection field: Time and Distance. My good friend Jeff Marquart, a fine Protector in his own right, told me once: “It all comes down to miles and minutes.” As I get older, I seem to be hyper-focused on the smallest of details and less and less on the items that stole my attention in my younger days.

Jeff Marquart, Tom Taylor, and Gavin de Becker did the close protection world a tremendous service by cataloguing, assessing, and summarizing attacks on protected personnel in their notable book – Just 2 Seconds (J2S). I refer to this as the Protection Bible. GDBA continues to maintain the compendium of attacks on protected personnel – as we believe in constantly learning, assessing, and adapting to the tactics of the adversary.

The Theory of Controlled Spaces recommends maximizing time in controlled spaces – armored car, protected estate, advanced venue, etc., and minimizing time in uncontrolled spaces – the area in and around a vehicle in a public setting, public sidewalks, public streets, etc. According to the research in J2S, 64% of attacks happen in the area in and around the vehicle and 77% of those attacks were successful.

As protection practioners, we must know this statistic and look for any advantage in this predictably unfavorable place. Many strategies exist: public arrival/non-public departure, ruse departures, ghost motorcades, etc… Another strategy I would like you to consider is leaving the Protectee’s door open on arrival.

Why? Because you absolutely have No Time.

Once out of the vehicle and moving to the next controlled space, we must consider where we are moving to – if and when we hear that gunshot. We know John Hinckley fired 6 rounds in 1.8 seconds on that fateful day in 1981, so we absolutely must not waste fractions of seconds wondering where we are going. If we are planning on bailing back to the vehicle, which is favorable, it is a hell of a lot easier entering an open door than a closed door. If your team is closing the door and you are attacked, you will need to manipulate the handle, pray the driver did not lock the door, and open/extend the door to get the Protectee inside, all while taking fire. This whole thing takes the one thing you have none of – time.

Focus on the small details, they are critical.

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