Executive Protection is a profession that has been undergoing an unreasonable development. Over the decades, this activity has focused on increasing its capacity to respond to an attack, which, according to the facts, is totally illogical. When analyzing the assassinations, attacks and kidnappings committed in the 20th century and so far in the 21st century, for example, the attackers were successful in almost all cases. As a consequence, the protected persons were killed, wounded or deprived of their freedom. We even have some examples where a single person with only one weapon managed to defeat the world's most famous security services: the U.S. Secret Service and Israeli security, in the attacks against Ronald Reagan and Yitzhak Rabin, respectively. Needless to mention the attacks and kidnappings that occur in Latin America with large commandoes of hired assassins and high-powered weapons.
Faced with such a phenomenon, it is worth asking why it exists. Apart from the surprise factor that criminals have, as well as the numerical and strategic advantage they seek, the protectors, due to the psychological and physiological impact they suffer in those moments, can hardly achieve an organized and forceful thinking that leads to accurate actions, regardless of how trained they are. Although it is not impossible for security forces to perform adequately in high-impact situations, their performance cannot be left to chance. Therefore, chance cannot be the foundation of a profession as important as Executive Protection.
For someone caught under fire, the chances of survival range from slim to none. So why continue to invest time and money in sustaining a dangerous working model that historically has not worked well? When studying attacks, at least three phases of operation executed by criminals are always recognized:
- Gathering information about the victim.
- Monitoring and follow-up (may last several months).
- Installation of the aggressors in the waiting point before the attack (as we saw in the case of the attack against Omar Garcia, it can be several hours in advance).
Faced with this type of eventuality, anticipation will always be the best strategy: instead of waiting for aggression, a passive stage where our chances are minimal, it is much easier and safer to intercept the attack in its preparation phase. It is relatively "simple" to detect hostile surveillance lasting several months, and thus disrupt the attack before it happens. If successful, the aggressors can easily be surprised where they are waiting before the attack, thus nullifying their actions in advance. It is important to note that this requires changes in strategy and specialized counter-surveillance and early warning groups.
Criminals act with cunning and intelligence: they try to attack us where we are most vulnerable and when we are most vulnerable. So why play their game by betting on reaction, when we can surprise them much earlier, when they are unprotected?
A radical change in the way we operate is necessary so that, with simple, effective and discreet measures, we can protect the lives of executives, escorts and citizens. In the face of today's threats, we do not need a stronger operation, but a smarter one.