Many industry specialists would argue that all executive protection levels are equally important — both the basic and advance work. The first type is the actual work on the ground, protecting your principal with your body.
On the other hand, advance work is necessary to prepare for successful protection against anything that man or nature can create.
What is Advance Work All About?
Anticipation, planning, and preparation are three primary categories an executive protection agent should be familiar with. Without these, you can’t start to fathom the basics of advance work. Simply put, here are the three steps to consider when preparing for a demanding task.
You should anticipate:
- Anything that would, could, or might happen to endanger the safety of the place, person, or thing you are protecting;
- Anyone who may target the person, place, or thing and harm them;
- Everything you can do to prevent something that could endanger the person, place, or thing.
You should plan:
- The method and means of protection;
- The itinerary of the person under your protection;
- Emergency contingencies;
- Alternative plans;
- The logistics and specific instructions for all those who take part in the protective assignment.
Thirdly, before you start moving, visit every site and explore all there is to know about the destination. Scrutinize all the people, inspect the entrances and exits, electrical maintenance, heating and air conditioning ducts. Investigate the parking, emergency response, and pretty much everything you can get your hands on.
Advance work is all about preventing and not reacting. Its purpose is to avoid embarrassment, accidental injury, planned assaults, and harassment. Furthermore, your task is to help the VIP in maintaining their schedule. And what better way to do it than in-depth planning?
Just use this formula: anticipate, plan, and prepare! And you will be almost unstoppable, or at least you will get to keep your job.
Mitigate Hazards with Advance Work
There are two types of attacks in executive protection: unsophisticated and sophisticated attacks. Advance work helps you mitigate the risks of both. Still, the issue with attacks is that attackers have an unfair advantage. Meaning, they choose the time, place, and methods of attacking. So there is only so much you can do.
Apart from devising an executive protection plan, you can use advance work to deter most attackers and reduce the traveler’s vulnerability.
As EP experts often like to say, the time to stop an attack is before it happens. So the only way you can do that is by applying preventative measures. And you guessed right: prevention is the consequence of preparation, anticipation, and planning.
Bear in mind that it’s too late to take preventive measures once an attack occurs. If a group of criminals sprays the area with 9mm rounds, you can only wish you prepared, planned, and anticipated better. Of course, apart from begging God that you survive.
In a nutshell, high-level protection entails a thorough analysis of potential issues and a capable person to prevent them all. Besides, you should be familiar with the principal’s itinerary, logistics, and venue. In other words, whom the client will meet and travel with.
Find out everything about everything, like your client’s life depended on it. Because it does.
Origins and Future
During the 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, the staff advance person concept became popular. Although devised and perfected before that, the industry adopted it during the Kennedy campaign. In the modern era, most security organizations and government agencies use advance work to protect VIPs, celebrities, and politicians.
Executive protection agents travel ahead of the VIP. Therefore this area of expertise is called advance work. An advance comprises of carefully and personally inspecting all venues and rooms the principal will visit. More than that, the EP agent has to determine what facilities are available and meet with the host committee.
It has become commonplace for the advance work specialist to be in charge of the job’s nonsecurity-related segment. This practice is neither recommended nor ideal. So know what your responsibilities are because not everything is part of your job. You already have enough on your plate.
Furthermore, the light shines bright on the future of advance work. Today, it’s unimaginable to think about executive protection without it.
This aspect of executive protection has advanced so much that encryption has become its integral part. Experts have found ways to use encrypted communication to allow clients to communicate anonymously. That is especially relevant if the principal is traveling to a country where people dislike them.
Apart from fending off haters, encryption keeps data secure and protects sensitive information. And all this shows the wide range of expanding domains advance work covers.
Checklists in Advance Work
More than anything else, executive protection agents swear by checklists. They are concise and useful when implementing many actions that may otherwise require reading through volumes of books. Additionally, most EP agents have inherited them from their industry mentors.
When EP specialists think about advance work, the first thing that comes to mind is checklists. So, if you just got the right kind in place, you are ready for anything, right? Not quite. Advance work demands a lot more than that.
Besides, there have been instances where a principal has a heart attack or a health issue. To mitigate the risk of that, find out the location of hospitals. No matter where you are, there should be at least one decent facility to treat your client if something happens. If you had a checklist, you could just check that item off, hence its usefulness. You can never forget it because it’s written somewhere.
To put the cherry on the cake, perhaps you can get an EMT certification. That will allow you to waste no time while traveling to the nearest hospital. Sometimes minutes and even seconds matter more than any surgery.
The Most Important Aspect of Executive Protection
As they can prevent harm from coming to the client, advances are the essential aspect of EP. They not only safeguard the client but also ensure their peace of mind. That is especially important when a principal is traveling for an important business meeting. You don’t want them to be worried or think about their safety. That’s why they have you.
Being proactive rather than reactive is the cornerstone of advance work and executive protection. Without it, EP would only be brute force, to say the least.