In recent years, three major impacts have been changing the face of Executive Protection.
The first of these is the great influence of social networks. Any misconduct on the part of the escorts is exhibited and transmitted immediately through the Internet, causing the protected persons to receive "titles" on social networks, where their image is severely affected and, in many situations, their legal status as well. From this moment on, users of Executive Protection services began to reject the traditional model of protection, which quickly transformed from a status symbol to one of bad taste. It was not only the businessmen who rejected this archaic concept, but even the President of the Republic himself.
The second impact is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Protectors are now becoming more aware of the importance of avoiding unintentional damage and of providing their protection service even against microscopic enemies. This helps to reject the widespread "security fiction" perpetuated by Hollywood, and to understand that executive security is a planning and logistical process that reduces the protégé's exposure to any type of risk.
The third impact, the most crucial, is the attack perpetrated against the secretary of the SSC CDMX, Omar García Harfuch, where hired assassins dared to attack such a high official in the most luxurious area of the city. Here, what is most striking is the arsenal that was used and the way in which the criminals obtained it. This arsenal was composed of five Barret rifles, capable of perforating armored vehicles; a grenade launcher; forty weapons of various calibers; seven grenades; fifty-one Molotov cocktails; ninety-six magazines; and 2,805 cartridges of various calibers. According to expert reports and different journalistic versions, these weapons were obtained two days before the attack, in the Gustavo A. Madero delegation, in the heart of the CDMX, for half a million pesos. This is, undoubtedly, a minor amount for the enormous economic power of a cartel, and, at the same time, accessible to other criminal groups that could endanger our executives.
In the face of this firepower, so accessible to criminals, the usefulness of a conventional pistol usually carried by a private escort becomes limited. Taking into account this scenario, we could suggest two alternatives to face this critical situation:
Arm all our elements with Barret rifles and escort executives in armored vehicles through the streets of our cities. Of course, this "alternative " is in every sense unfeasible, starting from the legal point of view. Moreover, this action would turn our cities into battlefields with great risks for citizens. Alternatively, the only possible alternative is to make a change in the operational approach to identify the preparation phases of an attack and thus intervene in its process, instead of waiting for the aggression to occur in order to react, as explained in my book Executive Protection in the 21st Century: The New Doctrine.
These three impacts are forcing executive security to undergo a conceptual and operational change, which implies a new structure and the development of new work competencies that would imply better training in intelligence techniques, counter-surveillance, early warning and other unconventional methods that have been little practiced until now.
These chisel blows of operational reality are shaping our profession, taking it towards a much more discreet form, capable of responding to various types of threats, and, at the same time, safer, both for executives and escorts, as well as for society in general.