One of the most underrated and unused security assets is the skill set that executive protection professionals bring to the task of designing and implementing physical security plans and programs. That may come as a surprise to some, including protection professionals themselves. Let’s examine the reasons why that is so.
The Four Pillars of Protection are Risk, Intelligence, Advance, and Location. They describe a dynamic environment, not a linear process. The methods are situational. For example, the protective shield structure for a chief executive is not the same as one for a mailroom worker. The principles, however, are the same.
Moreover, these principles apply when protecting people, information, and physical assets. Fortunately, in many instances, the systems and procedures used specifically to protect one class of assets delivers the benefit of protecting other assets. For example, access control measures are a first line of defense effective for protecting people and physical assets.
We use the term physical security to catalog all the measures needed to protect things, including our most valuable asset, people.
Not always, but often, there is a chasm between the people assigned to close personal protection and those tasked with the broader physical security scheme. It is a false and unnecessary choice.
If those who only study physical security never learn about personal protection methods and procedures, and protection people never learn the details of enterprise physical security then there will be a critical gap in operational knowledge, cooperation, and collaboration that can lead to the formation of dangerous operational silos, and even sometimes, rivalry for support and resources.
Executive protection practitioners are selling themselves short, and unduly creating career, collaboration, and business opportunity barriers if they view themselves through only one lens. The indicative is to get educated about physical security.
Meb and Jenny West of Seven Spears Security International, LLC offer a good starting point for getting educated about physical security. They have written “A Physical Security Primer for Executive Protection Professionals” an introduction to the basic concepts required to start a proper physical security program.
They begin by walking you through the steps and methods for preparing yourself and your expanded work product view. These important factors, they point out, are often overlooked.
They then dive into the various aspects of managing risk through functional planning, and offer a guide for distilling all that is possible down to what is necessary and doable.
Finally, they offer some good tips for navigating the winding path of execution, leadership buy-in, and evaluation.
They also include a bevy of practical questions, and checkpoints that will help along the steps in the process.
The authors acknowledge that, “When properly executed, physical security can be an involved and complex process that supersedes its seemingly simple reputation.” In addition, in their words, “…can be a daunting task.”
The question is, what is the alternative?
We are grateful to Travis Lishok, founder of EPNexus who collaborated with Seven Spears Security International to produce, and first published this primer, for granting PSC permission to post. EPNexus is another good source for EP information.
Image courtesy of steafpong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net