What is an Advance? It is a security survey of all parts of an itinerary to include hotels, restaurants, vehicles, other transport, hospitals, doctors, & routes of travel. The Advance is done by Executive Protection Agents prior to the arrival of the protective detail at each city, state, or country that the protectee visits. Advances are the most important aspect of Executive Protection.
The Advance is designed to ensure the protectee’s visit and daily schedule proceeds in a secure and smooth manner. The first concern of the Agent is that the protectee is safe, as a result the Advance imagines all possible threats to the protectee and includes methodical site surveys, meticulous planning and procedures and a game plan to address such threats were they to materialize.
Advance work can be very complex and a high level of training and experience is required.
Below are is a checklist of areas that must be considered as part of an Advance:
The amount of time that can and should be spent on each Advance depends on many things to include external and internal threat level, relative stability and crime level of the area, budget. On some international protection assignments, the Executive Protection Agent should be in the ground several days before the arrival of the protectee.
Many times this is not possible; on a recent assignment WPG did 36 advances in 4 days all while maintaining security on the client. In this case, when the client was in a secure location, the close protection team left to do the advances on the remaining itinerary for the rest of the event. Clustering advances by location and not chronological timing allows the team to be more efficient.
If it is not possible to do an in-depth ‘advance’ ahead of time, some important work can also be done in the 5-10 minutes before the protectee arrives. In these types of Advances, you must prioritize what you must need to know in a short time: the entrance and exits, location of the rest rooms, meeting locations, identification of a safe room, and nearest hospital.
Another important component in the advance is adding a medical response by the Executive Protection Agent. You must know where the best trauma centers are and how to get to those locations. In addition, if the protectee has a medical issue you may want to arrange VIP treatment with a pre-established doctor should there be a medical incident while traveling. All Executive Protection Agents must be CPR, First Aid, & AED certified and some are even Emergency Medical Technicians. A medical kit should be always on the protection detail.
This is a short overview of Advances which we consider to be the most important area in Executive Protection work.