Protective Details


Is a group responsible for the safety of a particular person (Protectee). The total number of protective detail members available for protectee duty is divided into groups based on their working hours. Each group (working shift, if it’s more than one agent) is headed by a senior person, commonly known as the SHIFT LEADER, who is responsible for deployment, ensuring that they are present as required, properly equipped, etc.

The protection team or protective detail has three primary day-to-day responsibilities, which includes: the duties of the security agents accompanying the protectee, advance work and the operation of the command post (if any). The day-to-day responsibility of the working shift is to GUARD the protectee. These detail members are the ones who are seen by both the public and Potential Attackers. The sharper and more professional the detail looks, the less likelihood there is of an attack.

The protective detail operations under the protective philosophy of doing whatever needs to be done to avoid problems, using meticulous planning and whenever possible taking PROACTIVE (PREVENTIVE) measures. If the proactive measures fail the REACTIVE measures of choice is to COVER and EVACUATE the client (protectee). The last thing the agent wants is to find himself into a serious situation involving guns, etc. That’s the job of the police (much of the police work is REACTIVE) quite different from the hob of the executive protection agent, which is PROACTIVE.

If enough preventive measures are taken, the threat will almost always diminish, or go away. If the threat (adversary) persists, and against all odds, creates a life-threatening situation, and the client cannot be safely evacuated, then the extreme REACTIVE measures of, unarmed control techniques, evasive driving, defensive shooting or whatever is needed, must be taken.


The protective detail working shift, whether it is a one, two or three-man team, is composed of those individuals whom you think of as the visible manifestation of protection; they are the people carrying the guns, the sunglasses and keeping a watchful eye on everyone. What kind of individuals makes good protective agents? In the past, bodyguards were often viewed as muscle-bound bullet blockers, ex-prize fighters, ex-football players etc. These individuals provided an intimidation quality and may have deterred the more timid adversaries, but they did not have significant impact on the outcome of an armed attack by a dedicated adversary. In the majority of instances the bodyguards were killed.

The professional agent of today is PROACTIVE, placing his primary emphasis on preventing the attack from taking place, while continuing preparations to react in the event of an attack. It is the PROACTIVE strategy that separates the professional security agent from the muscle-bound body guard of the past. What qualities, then, does a good protective agent posses, not surprisingly, intelligence and mature judgment are at the top of desirable agents qualities.

Every day on the job the agent must make judgmental decisions as to whether an apparently hazardous or dangerous situation is a coincidence or an ambush about to be sprung, the car which stops suddenly in the street in front of you, the strange car parked two days in the row near the protectee’s driveway are examples of the need for quick enlightened decision. The agent cannot see the bad guys hiding around every corner, nor he fail to see the one person who represents a potential threat.

Mature judgment does not necessarily mean an older person, but valuable life experience and common sense. The agent must have a high degree of initiative, self-confidence and creativity, has to be a take-charge problem solver who can “get it done” no matter what the circumstances are. He must be in good sound physical condition. Long hours are routine in the executive protection business. It is not necessary to be a world-class athlete, but an agent should be generally fit and possess a healthy share of stamina.

What is the appropriate background experience for a protective agent, the ideal combination of experience would probably include one tour in the military, to learn discipline and self-reliance, some law enforcement background to know the procedures of the law enforcement field, and to establish some of the contacts that he is going to over the years as sources of information and assistance. Experience with business, law, accounting and etc. give the agent useful skills which can be put to use on the job.


Sufficient time should be devoted to the training for true acquisition of skills. Protective agents are made, not born. Just as one does not want ones surgeon learning on the job, one does not want his protection agent learning through his mistakes, this could be fatal. Some of the skills that the food agent should have are:

And much more…


When a protectee makes a trip of any duration, either to another city, overseas, to a restaurant or a meeting, it is highly desirable for an agent to travel to the site in advance of the protectee. Advance security survey, or simply ADVANCE is the term used to describe the procedures and actions undertaken by the agent(s) in making the necessary logistical and security arrangements for the clients trip. Since the primary goal of an advance is to minimize risk, a well-executed, meticulously detailed ADVANCE will have a direct bearing on the probability of avoiding or surviving an attack. Conversely, trips taken without the benefit of an advance, or with sloppy advance are invitations to disaster.

Many experienced executive protection agents consider advances to be the most important aspect of executive protection. An advance will cover arrangement for travel, lodging, meals, vehicles, meeting and special events. It includes liaison with local law enforcement and security emergency services and will decide on routes of travel. Every advance is unique, however the principles are the same regardless of where the advance takes place and the nature of the event being advanced, the thoroughness of the advance is dependent on several factors, among them: the perceived threat level, the number of bodies available to do the advance and the time allotted. Some times advances must be done almost in a matter of minutes; on the other hand, advances can be very complex and can require a day or several days to complete.


Vehicle and Driving Security…. Good Executive Protection driving skills rank at the very top of the skills needed and prized by professional agents. It is in fact essential that the agent possess a wide range of information and skills related to vehicle and driving security; there are several reasons for this: the chances of the agent and protectees being involved in a serious auto accident are very good. Basic safe driving skills with an emphasis on accident avoidance can significantly decrease the potential for a vehicular accident involving the client.

Also, one of the most vulnerable SOFT SPOTS for the protectee is in or around his vehicle (Traveling to and from point A to point B) an astonishingly high percentage of kidnappings and assassinations take place in or around the vehicle. Getting to and from the car is often the most critical part of vehicle travel. A state of constant alertness should be maintained as to the driving conditions and sign of trouble. You have heard several times that the most important element of a good security driving is to alter your schedule and route. And at a more mundane level, the protectee wants an efficient, comfortable, reliable ride with no problems. The client needs to have feeling of complete trust in his drivers’ ability to perform safely and smoothly, avoid accidents, react correctly to emergencies and get away from danger. All agents should have excellent defensive, evasive and offensive driving skills.


Special situations in which the protectee may be invoiced are most likely to include banquet seating, going into or out of vehicle etc.  Rigid formations will not be useful in these situations, however life is not perfect and these special situations call for creative accommodations of existing protective needs.  There is no magic to the shape of a formation, its purpose is to prevent harm from coming to the protectee through observation (surveillance) approaching, leaving, or already in the immediate area or vicinity of the protectee are under careful observation.  Why only the immediate vicinity? Almost all attacks in public places take place close to the target.


Physical Security for Home or Office begins with a study of a wide range of potential attack strategies. Prevention Theory will include initial assessment, physical security and detection. It will cover methods of conducting a survey of an Office or Residence and how it can be defended. The purpose of physical security is to impede unauthorized entry or access, with lights, locks, alarms and access control, detecting the use of countermeasures to unauthorized entry into defended areas, and the methods used to gain entry. An initial site survey with blue prints of the building(s) should be performed, and should be repeated on a regular basis, depending on the level of threat perceived. These regular surveys should coincide with maintenance of the security system, whether performed by the protection agent or by the outside contractors. It should be pointed out that physical security is only as good as it is current.


Foot escort is probably the most important part of Executive Protection.  Forming around the principal, getting him from place to place smoothly and reacting to problems or potential problems along the route, are at the heart of a successful protective effort.  Each team member must be able to function as part of the close protection team while carrying out his own special tasks.  Correct methods for dealing with doors, stairs, elevators, open and confined spaces, crowds, entry and egress into or out of vehicles must be perfected.

In simple terms good bodyguards are good at foot escort techniques, not just at the basic formation, but also in adjusting those formations to fit terrain, threat and other conditions.  The standard formations used for close-in protectee security in protective details is composed of four people and is called the DIAMOND FORMATION, which is used when possible.  The WEDGE FORMATION is formed by three agents.  The difference between Wedge and Diamond formations is fourth man (tail) covering the rear.

When there are only two agents working the protective detail, the team leader is usually best positioned slightly to one side and to the rear of the protectee. This sole gent has the responsibility for observation of all sectors; the second man should take point position.  In the great majority of cases, attacks emanate from the front, rather than the rear, therefore it is critical to cover the front, the sides and last the rear areas relating to the protectee.

In the event that a suspicious, unfriendly or hostile act occurs, the agent observing the act alert the others in clear plain language as to the nature and general location of the threat.  The agent closest to the protectee, would immediately close in on the protectee, bed him over at the waist to reduce him as a target, cover the protectee with his own body and rapidly evacuate him away from the hazard.  While this agent is evacuating the protectee, the remaining one (or two agents) must decide whether to assist in evacuating the protectee or engaging the threat.

An agent within a pace or two of the adversary might attempt to block him, to intercept him or to disarm him, etc.  A worst-case scenario would be facing an assailant who has a weapon and is attempting to fire it.  If he presents an ongoing danger, one agent might be forced to engage him, while permitting the other(s) agent(s) to evacuate the protectee (principal).