Not to be confused with operational mobility for military objectives, this set of rules and tactics in EP translates to protecting the client on the move. Having certain predictability in this sense makes all the difference. Where is the client headed? How many people will attend the same event? What are the main routes to get there?
These are only some of the questions professional EP agents should ask themselves before implementing operational mobility tactics.
Apart from the apparent skills you ― as an executive protection agent, need to protect a client, there is a set of other prerequisites. For example, you should learn to drive all types of vehicles in all kinds of circumstances.
To point the obvious, you ought to be familiar with all sorts of terrain in hostile and safe environments. Coping with vehicle and ground limitations is crucial if you want to exceed the client’s expectations.
Simply put, operational mobility means that you need technical and technological skills in real-time. This covers modules on terrain reading, tactical driving, essential vehicle recovery, field repairs, and a slew of other elements. If you want to learn to perform all these different actions, you should have a specific learning goal. It must involve training you as the driver to operate vehicles in escape scenarios and build your self-confidence.
This is only the tip of the iceberg called operational mobility.
How to Excel in Operational Mobility
According to the organization International Mission and Deployment Training, who specialize in this field, these are the chief training modules you need to attend:
- Basic vehicle operations,
- Convoy rules and convoy driving,
- Combat in soft vehicles,
- Terrain reading,
- Obstacle assessment,
- Night driving,
- Pre-mission checking,
- High-speed driving,
- Checkpoint management,
- Tactical recovery, repair, vehicle evacuation,
- Casualties, personnel rescue, and evacuation, and,
- Being pursued in vehicles and on foot.
To set yourself apart from others in the executive protection industry, mastering all these operational mobility aspects is required. For example, you don’t necessarily need to know everything, but getting your head around the core principles is vital.
In most experts’ opinion, you will need between one month and five months of intense training to excel in the field. This doesn’t seem like a high price to pay if you are looking to become an exceptional executive protection agent.
And if you take away anything valuable from this article, then it should be this: practical training, practical training, and ― you guessed it ― practical training.
Avoid as much theory as you possibly can. Some training companies will offer 80% theory and 20% practice in their courses. Try to bypass those and seek out the ones that provide everything the other way around.
To get a taste of the other skills you need to land an executive protection job, check out EP Wired’s article: 7 Steps to Become an Executive Protection Agent.
First Ask These 12 Questions
Many professionals adore checklists, including doctors and repairers. Checklists help them remember steps that are important in their workflow or different processes. That’s why we are providing you here with 12 core checklist-style questions that you should ask yourself before engaging in activities that require operational mobility skills:
- Is the route the shortest one possible? You should always look for the most straightforward way between points A and B.
- Is movement formal or informal? In other words, will other people, like the police and the general public, know about your activity? If so, take precautionary measures.
- Is the path or time predictable? Are you sure you know the details of the road ahead? Could something surprise you? What, where, when? The more questions you ask about your movement’s predictability, the better off you, your team, and your clients will be.
- Is there an alternative route? For example, before starting your activity, scan for other paths if something unexpected were to arise.
- What is the most reliable evacuation route in case of an emergency? If you intend to become an executive protection agent, discovering trouble before it happens is your number one priority.
- Where are the danger points? Are you nearing a building that has been uninhabited for 20 years or approaching a dangerous neighborhood? Be aware of the potential danger points on your route. You don’t want a seemingly deranged fan to grab your client without permission while on foot.
- Is there a safe area at hand? If something unforeseen happens, where can you find refuge and take your client? Is there abandoned storage nearby, or what are your other options?
- Where is the closest medical facility? God forbid a sniper shoots your client, where do you take him or her? Is there a hospital nearby? Are you carrying a first aid kit? Treat the client on the spot if possible. If not, prepare a list of nearby medical facilities ahead of the activity.
- What sorts of formations are best suited for moving around? Should you be moving alongside your client’s car or drive your vehicle in front and back of theirs?
- What special equipment an EP agent needs? As discussed in The Most Useful Executive Protection Tools, you will need emergency phones, satellite communicators, and a host of other equipment.
- How many EP agents and other personnel will accompany the client? It makes a vast difference if assistants and other staff join you and your team. Make a list of all of them and ensure everyone’s safety at the given event your client attends.
- Should you establish barriers for crowd control? Are they necessary? To demarcate no-access zones, you should place crowd control barriers when you expect a large group of people. The term crowd can even refer to as little as ten people forming a throng.
Vehicle Safety Tips
And if all of this wasn’t enough for you, here are a few more tips on how to ensure maximum safety for your client and yourself on the go. Specifically, one of the most critical aspects of operational mobility is for your vehicles to be bastions of security. Most likely, when traveling from point A to point B, your clients will be in a car, not outside. That’s why you need to ensure that it runs smoothly and is capable of responding to threats.
Therefore, keep in mind the following tips for increased operational mobility success:
- Never leave your vehicle unattended, or have someone you trust to watch it out for you;
- Subsequently, have a full gas tank at all times, and refill it when it reaches half a tank. Bonus tip: Use different refueling stations to avoid patterns;
- Personally scrutinize the tires and vehicle, like making sure there is enough air pressure in the tires and that no one places an object to puncture them;
- Be present in the course of auto repairs and modifications;
- Do not stop, and evade any unusual roadblocks,
If a minor accident happens, stay in the vehicle with the engine running, windows up, and the doors locked.
Pro Bonus tip: While moving, always keep your windows rolled up and doors locked. No matter what.