Executive Protection Academy

Executive Protection Academy

Attack in Zone 6 in Guatemala, another failure of the so-called "close protection".

When an attack occurs, which only by being recorded gains much notoriety in social networks, a lot of comments are generated where the inexperienced always analyze only the moment of the aggression, while specialists focus on the minutes, hours and even months before the attack occurs.

This was seen last Thursday morning, December 2, on Buganvilias Boulevard, in zone 6 of Guatemala City, when several armed men got out of a sedan and shot at a businessman and three of his bodyguards, while they were driving a gold pickup truck. No security agents were observed to repel the aggression. One protector was killed, while the executive, who was apparently driving the vehicle, and two other escorts were wounded.

This is a clear example where sufficient resources are available, but knowledge and strategies are totally lacking, which, in the executive protectioncosts lives. I am not going to focus on what happened during the moment, nor on the actions taken or the routes chosen, since this has already been discussed, but rather on the strategic and conceptual errors.

As we have said several times, the basis of security in transportation is not weapons, but armored vehicles, those that allow us to reduce the vulnerability of the executive to risk; which, in this case, would have been very useful during the attack.

2. According to newspaper reports, it was the executive who was driving the unit, which is, of course, a serious mistake. In a security scheme, it is a protection agent who must drive the vehicle, being properly trained to know what to do before, during and after an aggression.

3. In this case, the obsolete concept of "close protection" was chosen, where the executive is surrounded by security agents who intend to respond to aggressions on one side of the protégé when the attack is already upon him, putting everyone in great danger. The disastrous results of this archaic concept are evident in this attack.

In contrast to this useless strategy, we have the concept of advance protection, whose purpose is to deactivate the attacks in their preparation phases, far from the executive in time and space, which could have been achieved with the existing resources if, in the aforementioned attack, the protectors had had sufficient knowledge to be able to act beforehand. Instead of surrounding the executive with three escorts, who ultimately failed to do anything, they would have been adequately trained and, likewise, assigned specific tasks. These are described below:

Counter-surveillance activities. Before an attack, criminals always observe their victim during the previous months. We could confirm this in some attacks that have occurred in Mexico in recent years. For example, we have the attack against Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the attack against the chief of the Mexico City Police, Omar García Harfuch, or the attack against the restaurant businessman Eduardo Beaven, among others. In the case of last Thursday's attack, the lack of counter-surveillance was also evident, since the assailants knew the route and its weaknesses perfectly well. An agent working in counter-surveillance would have detected and deactivated the attack months before it occurred.

Escort 2. Early warning tasks. The aggressors' vehicle could not have "magically" come out of nowhere, but was either guarded in a strategic location along the route, or followed the executive from a specific point. Early warning, for which motorcycles are very favorable, detects this activity minutes and sometimes even hours before the attack; it gives a timely warning, so that the executive does not fall into the trap, or else deviates to the previously chosen point of support. This is explained in the following video.

Finally, if all this fails and the attack eventually occurs, the counter-surveillance and early warning agents, according to the established operational plan, and acting as shadow agents, could surprise the attackers in different ways from the second circle, thus increasing the possibility of the executive getting out of the attack alive. This is explained in the following video.

Escort 3. Your task is to drive the armored vehicle and react appropriately in the event of an attack, provided you act in accordance with your training.

As we can see, existing resources could have been used much more efficiently to both prevent the attack and to act more effectively. There is an urgent need to replace the nefarious concept of "close protection" with advance protection operations to save the lives of both the protected and their protectors.