Executive Protection Training. Pop-up schools, online EP training & mixing of eclectic tactics. This has become the most eclectic and dysfunctional lunacy the executive protection industry has ever seen.
A few decades ago there used to be only three major executive protection schools and they were all exceptionally well regarded and respected in the industry and by clients. These schools had great curriculums that covered the needs and challenges of the industry and properly trained executive protection agents and gave them the right kind of instincts.
Now a bunch of pop-up schools are emerging with big claims about the type of training they provide and the agents they produce. These ‘schools’ have no real credibility or backing. In reality, all they are giving hopeful agents is an eclectic and dysfunctional executive protection training. They prey on security people that want to get into the business but can’t afford going to a great school because of the cost.
Why You Should Not Choose These Schools
Why is the training provided by pop-ups so dysfunctional? Essentially, this is because the pop-up schools combine a wide range of tactics and skills and pull from different types of training rather than sticking to known executive protection training. This can create executive protection agents who have confused instincts and really have no idea how to react in potentially dangerous situations.
Having teachers and instructors from different industries and backgrounds confuses things further. For instance, you might have very highly skilled ex military or ex law enforcement officers providing training. While they are skilled and experts in their fields, this does not make them experts in executive protection and the training required to be a good protection agent. They may put too much focus on weapon handling or combat, when an executive protection agent should never be focused on flashing their guns, but instead should always focus on getting their client as far away from a threat or dangerous situation as quickly and safely as possible.
This is not to say that SWAT tactics or law enforcement skills are not valuable and cannot be incorporated in some way. However, they are very different from the skills and instincts of an executive protection agent. A good school will focus on the very specific needs of a protection agent and ensure that the client’s safety is always in the mind of the agent being trained.
You will not find this elite training in pop-up schools and academies.
The Right Type of Training
Of course a Navy SEAL or ex deputy sheriff or other law enforcement individual may become an excellent executive protection agent. The only thing that they will need is new training–and lots of it–to ensure that their instincts become those of an excellent protection agent.
A 1000 hour academy to become a Navy SEAL will embed in the individual a certain set of instincts and valuable skills, but these need to become compatible with client protection and care. Combat and weapon handling is no longer first and foremost. The protection agent needs to be hyper aware of their surroundings, always know where a safe room or exit is located, and have a choreography and strategy to remove their client from any space in case a threat emerges. This simply will not be taught in a military academy or a pop-up school.
So this is why you need to have executive protection agents who have the right type of training. Training that is focused, thorough, and intensive and specific to executive protection. There are still a number of excellent schools out there training future executive protection agents and providing top-up training for those already out in the field.
This training needs to be in person to provide practice of scenarios, tactics, and protection strategies as well as formation and mock protection details. This is incredibly important to kick start a protection agent’s instincts and give them real life experiences to fall back on when they are in the field.
The pop-up schools are nothing like this. They may allow their trainees to learn virtually, which provides none of the vital hands on experience or even instill the wrong mindset in future agents. For example, some pop-ups schools are creating a ‘customer is always right’ mentality. While a protection agent is there to help and protect their client, this does not mean the agent is a ‘yes man’. In fact, a protection agent may need to tell their client ‘no’ at difficult moments in order to keep them out of harm’s way.
One instance of a ‘yes man’ executive agent is a one that allows their high profile or celebrity client to drive without the agent in the same vehicle and instead has the agent follow them. This is incredibly dangerous because the agent will become separated from the client in a matter of minutes due to traffic or simply a red light. The bottom line is, if you aren’t in the same car with them, you cannot protect them. A good executive protection school will make sure these mistakes are never made.
These eclectic pop-up schools are doing far more harm to the industry than good.
The Highest Standards in the Industry
The best executive protection companies know which schools are the best and only hire executive protection agents from these institutions. Anyone from a pop-up school will have to be retrained which simply is not worth the time and money. That is why it is always better to wait until you can afford the best executive protection agent instead of going immediately to an unaccredited and dysfunctional school. Not only is the career path much clearer and stronger, but it will keep clients safer in the long run too.
There is a push at the moment to standardize policies and regulations within the executive protection industry. This will hopefully extend to the executive protection schools as well so that only those with a good reputation, like Executive Security International, Robert Oatman’s EP school and Executive Protection Institute can be accredited and recognized. I would also look at the new Executive Protection Professionals certification which was just approved by ANSI at ep.board.org. This organization is not the only Executive Protection Professionals certification.
With higher standards and firmer regulations, clients will have greater confidence in choosing which executive protection company is keeping them safe. They will also know that strict procedures and policies are being adhered to and that agents are educated and trained to the highest standards.
If you are considering becoming an executive protection agent, never choose a cheap pop-up school with confused and dysfunctional teaching. Look for a school with the best reputation that will give you the right instincts and training for the job.
Wait until you have the money to train at a great EP school vs a pop up school which gives you the wrong tactics.