Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More On Executive Protection Training

I’m involved in another email correspondence with a guy that is looking to get into the executive protection field. He asked me about the various courses and companies out there, and I responded with the email below, which has been slightly edited for privacy purposes


Any company that named itself "Special Operations Protection Services Ltd." is already suspect in my book. A word or caution of the “Special Operations Protection Services Ltd.” of the world. The U.S. is flooded with guys that signed on to one of the PSDs in Iraq or Afghanistan after an illustrious career at the county volunteer fire department or working the gun-counter at WalMart. They did one or two tours, had they pictures taken under Baghdad's Crossed Swords decked out in the best Gucci kit that money could buy, and then went home to open up Special Operations Bodyguard, Rendition, and Ninja Training. The United States does not regulate EP courses, so anyone with some cool pictures and an Iraq or Afghanistan stamp in their passport can open one. Caveat emptor.

In terms of course costs, I'll grant you that executive protection training is not cheap. I was lucky enough to get the Army to pick up the tab for a lot of the EP training I did. A lot of guys will tell you that it's an "investment" into your new career, and I guess that's true to an extent, but it's still expensive and hard to swallow. Having said that, it makes it all the more vital that you get the most for the money that you're laying down. I can assure you that “Special Operations Protection Services and Ninja Training Ltd.” would not be on that list.

One way to get the most from you money is to attend a course that has all of the facets of protection rolled into it, i.e. driving, combatives, medical, etc... One such course is given by the International Training Group, out of, I believe, California. This was my first EP course, and some of the best training I've ever gone through, even in the military.

Another thought on courses is that you're looking for name recognition. If you slap "Special Operations Bodyguard Services - Ninja-Bodyguard Course on your resume, no one is going to recognize it, and will pass right over it as if you never attended anything. You have to find courses that people in the industry are familiar with and that have a lot of alumni (networking opportunities). Since you asked about driving, I'll tell you that BSR and Tony Scotti are two of the industry standards. Anyone that is seriously doing this job has gone to one or both of these schools, and most active instructors can trace their linage back to them as well. Granted there are a ton of driving schools out there offering decent training, but again, it's about name recognition on your resume.

Driving schools. Lot's of schools will teach you how to spin a car around, but that's not protective driving. Look for schools that work in multi-car formations, so you know what a lead car does, or how to drive the client car, or how hectic life is in the follow-car. All of these are different and have different roles and responsibilities. Can you coordinate a four-car Reverse 180 on a narrow street in the dark under pressure? That's what you're looking for.

Finally, you need to decide on what type of protection you want to do. Many will tell you that the principles are the same for all threat levels, and that's true to an extent. However, if you know that you want to do corporate protection, there are courses that specialize in those skills (R L Oatman & Associates). If you know that you're more inclined to do high-risk PSD work than look to Blackwater-type courses. As an example, Bob Oatman, doesn't even use the word firearm in his entire one-week course, but has a couple blocks of instruction on dress and business etiquette. Blackwater USA, on the other hand, has you on the range within the first hour of the course working on shooting. Keep in mind that the vast majority of all Stateside details are unarmed. Get my point?

Anyway, that's probably more that you needed, but it will move you in the right direction.


1 comment:

Elijah Shaw said...

Excellent Post with some very good points made. One recommendation is that there are several very good forums that members of the EP community vist (and that new comers are welcome at). I'd advise anyone asking to poke around those and you'll get reviews of some of the schools to visit, and those to steer clear of. Training is important but so is doing your research.

Elijah Shaw, CEO
Icon Services Corporation