Mike Trott, author of The Protected

The Protected will be released to the public June 18th, 2019. Until then, I hope you enjoy a few excerpts.

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Executive protection encompasses such a wide variety of people and their unique perspectives, concerns, and capacities—all of which are important to understand. Each facet of this field will affect your own unique EP experience, and each person involved in your sphere will have to consider a variety of questions whose answers will invariably impact everyone else.

With this broad scope in mind, one of my objectives is to cover the essential elements of executive protection (EP) while also incorporating other topics worthy of consideration. To accomplish this, it is important I directly address all of the many individuals who are involved under the “EP umbrella” at various times throughout the book. For example, I may address principals directly on topics they need to consider, but I also want to be sure security professionals of all levels will find this information helpful as we explore the methodologies behind EP. While it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes the best programs aren’t necessarily built from the top down – skilled practitioners can and do bring many layers of experience to educate principals who have never been exposed to executive protection.

Below, I’ve outlined the various groups of people most affected by or involved with the world of executive protection:

  • The Client
    You are the first order of business – i.e., the “principal” or “protectee.” You hire executive protection because your exposure, profile, position, financial success or family legacy has brought you to a point where you or someone else has decided it’s prudent to have consistent security coverage to anticipate risks and threats. Or maybe you simply want to facilitate complicated foreign travel and receive the comfort of knowing someone is watching out for you and can prepare for the worst as you enjoy the best. At times (because of your association), your family members and other close individuals can also require a level of personal protection.

  • The Practitioner
    You have been called EP, bodyguard, close protection, security officer or agent, and many of you have been in protective operations most of your career. You have either chosen this profession or, in some cases, it chose you. You have gained years of real-world experience protecting others in unique environments and conditions.

  • Chief Security Officer (CSO) / VP, Director or Manager of Security
    You are either a generalist or subject-matter expert in a specific security discipline (e.g., IT, cyber, facility or supply chain security) and you may or may not possess previous close protection experience. You may not have been formally trained in EP but are now required to arrange a level of protection for someone. As a CSO or security manager, you might find yourself in the center of a hurricane of demands as your organization has grown rapidly, increasing the profile of your CEO and other executives. Either deliberately or circumstantially, the need for an EP program has grown almost overnight, and you are in the pilot’s seat.

  • The “Concerned”
    You are a family attorney, corporate general counsel, estate manager, head of a private family office, financial advisor, or just a family member or close friend. You may be placed in a position of responsibility and care for your client or loved one’s safety, security and privacy, but you may not understand the requirements and need help navigating the process to assist them in evaluating, hiring and building a level of EP that sensibly meets their security needs.

  • New Protection Specialist
    The future of our time-honored profession depends on you, as you are just beginning your career (or perhaps are in transition from another career). You’re looking to the senior practitioners for training, education and mentoring as you gain the exposure and experience necessary to one day become a true veteran of our profession.

With that introduction behind us, let me now give some insight as to where this book will take you.

Understandably, most EP-related works are written primarily for practitioners (rather than clients/principals or the general public) and include a lot about how to provide EP, often in a physical sense. Though I’ll talk about these topics, it’s not my intention to present a step-by-step guide to working in this field.

Instead, I’ll focus more on what might influence a principal to consider personal protection – i.e., the why – and how that by extension affects the design and implementation of an EP program. Properly defining the why question is crucial because the answer shapes this important work from the start. Your reasons could be mandated, threat-based, event-driven or derive from a personal comfort factor. Whatever they are, the reasons behind starting such a program permeate through its establishment, management and daily functioning.

We’ll begin this journey with an exploration of what executive protection looks like, who might need it, and the present and future threat environment. As we proceed, I will address establishing an EP program and who may fall under the protective umbrella, while keeping in mind the why behind each individual situation. What influences someone today might also be different next month or next year. You can be assured those reasons will continue to evolve – and it would be my hope they may even dissolve over time. The middle of the book is more about the details of designing and running an effective program. This information is very important for clients/principals and other concerned people with a “need to know” as a program is developed. Everyone involved at this level needs to understand this process in order for a program to truly work.

For many, the persona of an expressionless agent behind dark glasses is the only image that comes to mind when they think of security details or bodyguards. Having often been asked to describe what motivates and drives a person to commit his or her life to this type of career, I have compiled/blended various real accounts and reflections into this book. As you’ll see, many of these experiences are not mine alone, but involve the many men and women who have walked similar paths.

The stories will give you a better perspective of who we are, how we might think, and how our experiences shape our careers in executive protection—i.e., our “EP DNA.” You’ll also get a sense of the fact that we, the protectors, are not (yet) robots, machines or infallible – we are human.

Additionally, those serving as protectors often play many roles – e.g., confidantes, facilitators, messengers, gatekeepers, gate openers, listeners, procurers, investigators, analysts, witnesses, medics, sometimes babysitters, sometimes friends and, in rare cases, even more. The jobs we have been asked to do can range from the simple to the incredibly complex, and from the very dangerous to the humorous.

Most of the time, principals and even other practitioners are never aware of these backstories, but they can be interesting, informative and sometimes just entertaining. My intent is not to sensationalize the content or the experience, but to bring relativity and conceptual clarity to the subject and topics by including these behind-the-scenes stories.