Looking Good, Feeling Good and Fighting Good

By Bruce Alexander

A few random thoughts about Executive Protection issues were swirling around in my mind this weekend and I thought I’d share them with you. Perhaps random isn’t the right word because at least one of these thoughts is a pet peeve, and the other two are concerns. I’ve titled these three thoughts as: looking good, feeling good and fighting good.

First, looking good. I cringe when I see Executive Protection professionals dressed like they are auditioning for “American Idol.” I don’t have anything against “American Idol” but then again I don’t have anything for it. It’s not my kinda show. I’m not a “fashionista” either but I believe that Executive Protection professionals should exhibit a professional appearance while on a mission.

That doesn’t mean you should out dress your principal but you shouldn’t embarrass him or her either. Attire should be appropriate for the occasion but in every instance, conservative. I also think that personal grooming falls into this category as well. What you wear off duty is your own business but I don’t think earrings on men are appropriate for an Executive Protection specialist regardless whether your principal is an entertainment celebrity or not.

My Executive Protection focus is corporate and government and simply put, I consider earrings taboo. Anyway, give some thought to your working wardrobe and the image you project.

My second thought is about feeling good. The March 2007 issue of Law Officer has an article entitled “Fit For Duty; A 20 minute SWAT workout.” The article is aimed at SWAT professionals but is certainly applicable to everyone. This article got me thinking about fitness and Executive Protection.

I’m nowhere near as fit as I used to be and I recently (ok, yesterday) decided to do something about it. In the same way I have certain professional standards about appearance, I have certain standards about fitness. Those of you who know me know I would never be mistaken for a Marine Corps recruiting model but that doesn’t mean fitness isn’t important to me. Fitness and Executive Protection go hand in hand.

Executive Protection can be a demanding profession particularly if you are on a small detail where you are expected to perform several tasks. One of the most demanding days I ever had in Executive Protection was advancing 11 stops on Capitol Hill. My principal was visiting congressmen to gain support for a treaty and he wanted to see and speak to the key players. I know it sounds easy but that wasn’t the beginning or end of my day and being fit helped. When you give your all to an assignment you are bound to get tired regardless of the task or environment. Being fit keeps you sharp particularly when things go wrong, which is my lead into the third topic of the day, fighting good.

Fighting good. Richard Nance’s article “Winning in the ‘Kill Zone’ ” is a must read for the Executive Protection community. The article is linked below. What I found relevant about this article and the Executive Protection assignment is the range of the “kill zone” which is within five feet of the attacker. While this article isn’t specifically about Executive Protection the lessons learned certainly apply.

Rich Nance’s reminder about the threat presented by unarmed attackers applies to Executive Protection particuarly when considering the frequency we find ourselves in situations with crowds, to include crowds that have been pre-screened for weapons. Secondly all of the skill sets Nance advocates are spot on for Executive Protection. Close quarter tactics are a perishable skill like languages, driving and shooting. Don’t neglect these vital skills on your road to becoming a Master Executive Protection Specialist.