Diplomatic protection is a high-stakes, high-paced job with a ton of benefits and opportunities. However, breaking into that particular profession is somewhat difficult. That is, unless you really have a handle on what to expect and what’s expected of you.
Today, we’re going to clear up all the mysteries surrounding diplomatic protection and explain exactly what it is and how it works. We’re also going to talk about what it takes to have a career in the field, and whether or not it’s even the right path for you.
What Is Diplomatic Protection?
Before we get into career projections and salary expectations, it’s best if we break up the concept of diplomatic protection. By definition, it’s the procedure in which the state of nationality employs a person to secure the protection of someone who’s been injured by a different state.
Also, to that same effect, through diplomatic protection, the first state wants to obtain reparation for the act that was internationally and wrongfully inflicted. This type of protection can extend to both legal and natural persons.
The History Behind the Profession
Regardless of the time period or person, there’s always been a need for diplomatic protection. That’s why this profession has a pretty long history, and it’s existed as long as international law.
One of the first records of diplomatic protection comes from 1758, and it’s by the Swiss jurist, Emmerich Vattel. He gave the principle by writing that “Whoever ill-treats a citizen indirectly injures the State, which must protect that citizen.”
Diplomatic Security Careers
There’s nothing straightforward about applying to be a diplomatic protection officer. State laws vary from one place to the next, and the qualifications can change. But if you want to be part of the industry, there are certain skills that you can’t be without. Let’s see what these are, and what you can expect once you join the diplomatic workforce.
Getting into Diplomatic Protection
There are a few different paths you can take if you want to have a job in this field. Before applying for the job, you could take a university degree, as most subjects are accepted. However, if you want to have a leg up in the competition, you might want to look for something that’s geared toward protection, security, or defense.
You could also work toward this role, and apply once you already have previous executive protection experience. Keep in mind that, even if you have relevant experience, but have never worked a government job, you still might need to complete a training course.
You should make sure that the course you’re choosing is the exact right one for that country and job. Don’t go for just any course that promises to teach everything there is about either diplomatic or executive protection. Chances are, your future employer won’t approve of those training schemes, and it’ll just be money down the drain.
Now, the checklist for what you need to have will vary from state to state. That’s exactly what makes diplomatic protection so tricky. That’s why we’re going to give an example of what the UK government looks for, so you have a better idea of what to prepare.
One thing that’s universal, no matter which state or country you’re applying in, is that you’ll be subject to enhanced background checks. It will show whether you have any criminal history, and it allows that state to check any information with the local police.
You’ll also have to pass a security check, which has several different levels. Here’s what national security vetting looks like in the United Kingdom.
The Skills You Need
If you were to check any social media app these days, all you’d see are EPAs shooting targets and boasting about their knife collections. And while having these hard skills is certainly vital to any protection job, there’s so much more than that.
First off, if you’re trying to polish off your hard skills, don’t just run to the gun range. Most of what you’ll be doing is close contact, which is why learning combative skills is beyond important.
With that said, what you really need to hone in on are your soft skills. You can’t work as a protection officer unless you know how to work well with others, and you’re open to learning new things.
Also, you need to have incredible communication skills, as well as sensitivity and understanding. Oftentimes, your job will lead to dealing with sensitive and tense situations, which is why it’s key that you’re patient.
But most important of all, you need to know how to remain calm in stressful situations. Your principles will expect you to keep them safe, and you can’t do that if you lose your head every time something bad happens.
Now, one thing to know about diplomatic protection, and executive protection in general, is that you’ll have a pretty dynamic schedule. That’s not to say that there won’t be days where you spend eight hours outside a door, just waiting. However, since you’re directly responsible for someone’s safety, consider yourself on their time and schedule.
More often than not, you’ll have the 40-hour weeks, unless there are special circumstances. As part of your job, you’ll constantly be monitoring and analyzing worldwide events, and developing security policies toward different countries.
Also, you’ll have to deal with communications and handle all questions and queries. You might also have to give admin support to other staff in the embassy you work in. What’s more, expect to write and submit reports on a routine basis.
Of course, this is just a preview of all the things you could be doing. Diplomatic protection is extremely dynamic, so expect to be learning something new every day.
To Sum up
If you’re looking to be part of the diplomatic protection industry, know that it’s going to be a long road with lots of security checks. Even though it’s extremely demanding, it’s also very rewarding, and the opportunity to grow and advance is everywhere.
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