Planning a Protection Detail
Confucius said: "A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door." The professional understands that things can change during a protection detail. Therefore, they take time to methodically plan for what they know will happen, and provide a back-up plan for what may happen. Every member of the team should understand how to develop a protective operations plan that facilitates a safe and successful protection operation. The team should always meet together and collaboratively provide input to the designated team leader. The team should always discuss contingencies or any last minute information that may impact the operation. The operation needs to afford the Principal protection from physical harm, embarrassment, or harassment and ensure team safety.
Assigning team roles and responsibilities: There are numerous considerations to be made when assigning team member's positions. It is advisable to diagram the motorcade and insert the professional's name for each position in the motorcade. It's important to be aware of a team member's skills and abilities. The appearance of the advance agent is important. They must present a professional appearance, be diplomatic, and tactful. They need to promote trust and confidence because they will be making the contacts for the team. The detail leader should be experienced and respected by the team. The number of team members should be determined by threat level and operating environment.
The Principal's itinerary: One of the most important factors in the planning phase is the Principal's itinerary. This information has a major impact on the operations plan. The itinerary is likely subject to change and those changes will impact the plan as well. Contact should always be made with all staff associated with the Principal's itinerary. This will provide a fluid flow of information and keep the operation plan current. It is important to remember the value of prior planning. Prior planning greatly reduces the chances of problems during the protection detail.
Briefing the team: Protective Intelligence sources can help determine the threat level. The arrival and departure times then become extremely relevant and valuable information. What is the purpose of the visit? Is it small, large, publicized, etc. Is it a formal, informal, or covert detail? What types of vehicles are being used? What types of firearms does the team have? Is it one detail or is there shift work? Is the team taken care of and what are the accommodations? Is there adequate access to food? Is the team aware of any extra funds needed? ALWAYS consider last minute contingencies.
Provide and inspect operation equipment: It is critical to inspect all equipment that will be used during the detail. Check the vehicles being used, any radio or surveillance gear, medical gear such as AEDs, etc. Provide lapel pins if necessary. if the team uses call signs make sure they are assigned. Make sure there is a briefing on proper radio protocol and that the entire team understands it.
Coordinate and review: Lastly, make sure there is a detail/operation coordination meeting. Review site surveys and routes. Discuss sites with the advance team. Depending how large the operation is and how many locations, the advance team is the eyes and ears at those locations and needs to relay their findings to the detail leader or operation facilitator.
This topic could go on for pages. This was just a small amount of information in hopes that the your team gets excited about developing their next operations plan.
Remember to Stay Safe and Stay Vigilant