Former CIA agent Michael W. Trott offers wisdom on executive protection (EP) in The Protected. He draws on his years of experience protecting public- and private-sector VIPs.
What is unusual in the book’s approach is its audience focus. This is not a text on the art and science of protecting people. Rather, it presents the considerations that consumers of EP services need to understand prior to engaging those services. Yet, the EP professional can gain much insight from the discussion.
The book discusses the realities of the profession: protecting people can be mundane. Traffic accidents may pose the greatest risk to a principal, sometimes making safe driving skills more important than being a marksman. Protecting a family may involve taking care of toddlers. Not everyone with a military or police background can adapt to these realities.
The able protection professional needs physical strength, a knowledge of defensive tactics and weapons, and the ability to get a principal out of harm’s way. He or she must also be culturally aware, a flexible planner, and able to analyze risks quickly.
Finally, Trott recognizes information vulnerabilities in EP. Monitoring the principal’s social media and Internet footprint is an essential part of 21st century EP. What outsiders can learn about a client increases his or her vulnerability.
Written in a clear style, the text presents an exposition of ideas, plus narratives describing the author’s experiences. These illustrate some of EP’s unexpected challenges. For example, the author had arranged security for a general to visit Italy, but the venue suddenly changed to Germany. Overnight the author traveled to Germany and arranged for accommodations and security on a military base. His account reveals the flexibility and resourcefulness the job requires.
Tools to aid readers include an appendix containing acronyms and a list of competencies required for an EP program and provider. Endnotes with useful links support the text’s assertions. The one drawback is the lack of an index.
Trott’s book is a good source for preparing a client for EP services. The text also makes the EP professional aware of the mindset, wisdom, and balance needed to succeed.