Many executive protection jobs are boring most of the time. You spend hours upon hours in a car or waiting someplace else for your client. Please don’t get us wrong. That’s a good thing. Being bored is better than having to fight off different threats constantly. Nonetheless, attending tactical defense training sessions could come in handy in case of emergencies.
EPAs are professional protectors, and this business should garner the same type of respect that others have. By this, we mean dentists, lawyers, accountants, doctors, and many other jobs. When the close protection agent speaks, the client should attentively hear what a specialist has to say.
He knows what steps to take to defend the protectee in public. He understands what it takes to go through a crowd of strangers and remain calm and collected. Because, in the end, he is the subject matter expert.
But how do you demand this respect? Well, for starters, you earn trust by delivering high-quality service. Easier said than done, so let’s explore more.
Earning Your Client’s Trust
Executive protection should be more than just making money and caring for the livelihood of one’s family. Reputable future or current EPAs sign up for the job to protect people through different strategies and principles.
They view the industry as a way to benefit themselves and serve others. Earning trust, not merely earning money, that’s what ought to be on your mind.
We don’t mean to sound patronizing. Yet, those who made it in the EP industry did so due to their impeccable work principles. Just look at people like Elijah Shaw, Byron Rodgers, or Anton Kalaydjian. They are all well respected in the industry, and nobody would dare question their authority. And what do they all have in common?
Well, they have worked with hundreds of clients throughout the globe and proven they can provide high-quality service in all environments. They don’t post everyday photos with their clients or try to become best friends with the executives. They are silent but true to the EP game. That’s precisely how you earn your client’s trust or at least part of it.
Still, what some individuals are doing is resting on their laurels. They bask in their former glories instead of expanding and perfecting their abilities and knowledge.
So here’s another tip for you: don’t become comfortable but remain sharp in everything you do. With your advance work skills, with your abilities to fend off mobs, with your know-how for assertive deterrence.
No company wants to hire EP teams or bodyguards who become complacent with what they have. And that’s where upgrading your skills and attending tactical defense training comes in.
What to Look For in Tactical Defense Training
To command respect and choose who you want to work for, a word of advice is in order. First of all, you need to possess unquestionable tactical defense skills that may come in handy during an accident. In all likelihood, you won’t need those most of the time, but what if you do?
Arrogance is a great enemy in EP. Everything can go just the way you want it, and then one day, all hell breaks loose. So, the question is: will you be prepared? Will you be ready to protect the principal, their entourage, and their family?
While serving in the capacity as an intelligence officer for the US Government working in Beirut, Lebanon, and other parts of North Africa, I found my operational training in tactical defense driving and surveillance a key tool in mitigating abduction of high-value personnel.
Patterns of behavior – when predictable – become opportunistic for the terrorist or common criminal seeking to exploit your worth through kidnap and ransom. Executive protection teams need to vigilant in daily – and sometimes hourly – situational awareness to guard against fluid aggressors seeking to exploit the weaknesses of the EP teams.
Any C-Suite executive, particularly their loved ones, need to be cognizant of their value to a kidnapper and practice extra caution. When such individuals do not exercise such caution, it is the responsibility of the EP teams to cover for their shortcomings.
Timothy Gill, CFE, Senior Vice President, Specter Security Group, LLC
With EP growing exponentially, those professionals who stand out have bigger chances of survival in the industry. Since an increasing number of corporations are bringing in security details, this is the right time to work on your skills. And the best place to start is with tactical defense training.
With thousands of trainings out there, be aware of what you choose. Some instructors are totally inexperienced and have zero respect for their trainees. You have probably read reports of ignorant instructors pointing a loaded gun at their trainees.
To avoid this, here are a few things to look out for in any tactical defense training.
No Guns, Just Bare Hands
For starters, the best way to defend yourself is probably by pulling out a firearm. However, guns aren’t easy to come by in many corners of the world, including US states such as Maryland, Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, etc. With some laws requiring you to undergo training, it may be a hassle to obtain a gun permit.
So, what is left when you take the firearms out of the equation? Apart from avoiding conflict altogether or using combative knives, there has to be something else you can try. And luckily, there is.
As many EP professionals have argued over the years, sometimes you need to utilize the tool of violence. Not because you are unprofessional or didn’t do your fair share of advance work. And not even because you are mean to some fans or photographers. None of that.
Your job as a protector is to protect your client, and nobody should stop you from completing this task. If you are going to win a fight, you must do what is necessary. No hesitation and no avoidance in case you see an immediate attack coming your way.
Thus, the best tactical defense training is based on three pillars:
- Detect danger,
- Defuse it, and
- Defend from it.
If you are going to be successful in any of these stages, you need the proper instruction. For this purpose we recommend the following companies:
All of them excel in offering a combination of firearm and hand-to-hand combat training. Whichever you choose, you won’t make a mistake.
Final Thoughts on Tactical Defense Training
Today we have learned what role tactical defense training plays in a regular EP job. When you aren’t allowed to use your gun, the only thing left to do is make the best of your bare hands.
Whatever detail you are working on, prepare for the worst-case scenario. Chances are, your next EP job won’t be another walk in the park. Actually, the time will come when you need to use your tactical defense skills. The only question is when and where.
In the famous words of Byron Rodgers: Be peaceful but not harmless. Don’t be just someone with a job, be a protection professional.