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Strategy, Communication, and Maintenance

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Executive protection, and security in general, are a blended, and operational sector. Just as no two principals are alike, those who have a stake in the outcome of the operation and protection of the principal also differ in both operation and objective. The executive protection team’s purpose is to protect the principal’s well-being and the brand – i.e. organization, which the latter represents.

This also is of highest priority of the organization, which invests an abundance of funds in close quarter protection. In the fortunate instance of a smooth executive protection detail, each entities’ objectives are satisfied – the executive protection team have successfully protected the principal, and one of the key figures of a client’s organization has safely made it to and from a location to further promote image and brand.

However, how well do the executive protection team, client organization, and outside entities function – i.e. law enforcement, military, when objectives conflict?

Objectives are primarily standard for the entities involved in executive protection operations; however, when pertaining to focused objectives by jurisdictions, they normally are:

  • Executive Protection Team – protection of the principal’s safety and security.
  • Client Organization – the safety and security of their upper management/C-Suite member/Stakeholder and the reputation of the organization.
  • First Responders (Law Enforcement, Military, Emergency Medical Services) – eliminate threats, providing care to the injured, and providing a situational report for other responding units.

Needless to say, the situation will be hectic; if not while the situation unfolds, definitely during the aftermath investigations. From standard incidents to crises, complications of the matter because of task ignorance and jurisdictional turf wars become an unnecessary inevitability in many executive protection details.

The issue is that there is too much of a focus on operational compliance instead of strategic thinking and pre-planning. This; however, is not to say that this encompasses all partnerships between executive protection teams, client organizations, and first responders; but, there indeed merits closer examination.

This of course must start with the leadership of each entity or designees. So where does it all begin? The answer may be simpler than perceived, and summed up in three words – Strategy, Communication, and Maintenance.

strategy and communication in ep
Strategy, Communication, and Maintenance by Matthew Porcelli


If the COVID-19 pandemic has had any kind of silver lining, it would be allowing others from across the world to communicate more via virtual platforms. Since society has now been thrust into what was seen as an inevitable reality, even if the pandemic never occurred, it practically forced organizations to adapt to a hybrid lifestyle.

For example, prior to the pandemic, some executive protection teams focused more on the physical protection of the principal during their operating schedule; now, there has been more focus on home protection of the principal and their family from a home-base.

With cyber threats becoming more prevalent each day, connections must be made with as many individuals as possible, within – organization’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Security Officer (CSO), and outside, – municipal, state, region law enforcement/military, the principal’s organization. Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM), remains an excellent concept for this new age of executive protection because it examines the organization, adapting security leaders (i.e. – executive protection management) into the realm of Chief Security Officers, as a sense of shared ownership to eliminate the contractor/client roadblock.

In essence, the terms, “contractor,” and, “client,” fade into the background, and terms such as, “advisor,” and, “colleague,” are used more.


As is a factor in developmental speech, some entities in the executive protection and principal framework still lack this important function. Sadly, internal communication also remains a continual paradox, let alone between clients and contractors.

However, when protecting life, property, and reputation, miscommunications or lack thereof, will have dire consequences, and put the executive protection team, and client organization in danger. Moreover, communication must not only be with relevant entities to harden the security framework of the close quarter protection detail, it must also be proactive rather than reactive.

The executive protection leader, as well as anyone in the protection sector, must have the attitude of making the connection first and not waiting for the organization key players to come to them.


Ad hoc executive protection details do appear from time to time; however, when solidifying strategies, communication, and developing partnerships with force-multiplying agencies and organizations, it cannot be done with a one an done mentality. Positions change, people get promoted/retire, and safety/security threats are always evolving.

Now that executive protection leaders have the foundational mentality of strategic and proactive communication, continuity planning must commence. Of course, it is a relief when a precarious situation has been diverted or a close quarter protection detail is completed; however, what if times, trends, and personnel change?

These concepts, and the principal(s)’ safety and security cannot be left to chance and simply shelved. Consistent meetings, trainings, and something as simple as weekly or bi-monthly meetings across the spectrum of internal and external organizations with security counterparts is the difference between a higher probability of success versus a dangerous lack of unpreparedness.

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