By Doc Rogers
Background: The detail leader is responsible for having advance work (reconnaissance) carried out. He assigns an advance man to gather all pertinent information of the threats and obtain information of the environment in which the client will visit. For the new advance man this may seem like a daunting task. Advance work in general, is technical and highly specialized service. The following recommendations will assist you in accomplishing your first advance work duties with few difficulties, however timely planning is necessary.
Objectives: Your objective as the advance man is to gain foreknowledge, acquired by going to each location in advance to evaluate, analyze and obtain all available information related to the client’s visit to reduce vulnerabilities and improve logistics so the executive protection team members can successfully accomplish their mission. You are to reduce to a minimum all uncertainties and setup security measures regarding the client’s visit at each location he or she will physically visit. The security measures you setup as the advance man are both active and passive, designed to insure the safeguarding of the client and to prevent needless delays, confusion, etc.
Action: While on advance work duties you do not have time to dillydally. Advance work involves rapid assessment and analysis of current information and prompt delivery of the the advance work you have produced to the detail leader. The advance man must obtain many sources of mission appropriate information in five categories:
Arrivals: Evaluate for security and comfort of movement for the client at entry airports, hotels, venues and safe havens.
Departures: Evaluate for security and ease of movement for the client at exit airports, hotels, venues and safe havens.
Venues: Evaluate for safety and security, movement for rapid evacuation if necessary and client comfort.
Routes: Evaluate for quickest safest and most favorable client vehicular movements; to include secondary routes, travel estimates in time and miles. Learn the status of all routes and avoid those frequently used by criminals. You should include a route map as a source of information for the detail leader for pinpointing all vital locations.
Safe Havens: Evaluate and setup rally points in case of incident or medical emergency. The safe havens must have favorable safety conditions, excellent communication systems, available 24/7 and with positively identified friendly personnel preferably armed and provide good fortification. Embassies, hospitals, police stations, military facilities and other suitable areas must be carefully evaluated.
Advance Report Neatness and clarity are essentials to a good advance report. Your advance report should be arranged in a systematic manner. For convenience its best to sort, group, and list the subjects in chronological order that the executive protection team will carry out their duties; 1) Entry airport, 2) Route to executive hotel, 3) Hotel to first venue, second venue, etc. and 4) Route from hotel to exit airport. In the back of your advance report you should include a section under the heading “contingency plans” where you list all the safe havens. You should explain the general courses of action for each rally point and safe haven to be utilized.
Recent Threats You should include a section under the heading “recent and present significant activities” which details the threats, safety circumstances or concerns in the operational area. These should be known facts with no guesswork involved. I also like to include a heading “general situation” which provides information on the normal day-to-day activities in the area written for each proceeding 24 hours while on the advance.
Advance Report Package The advance report can either be spiral bound or placed in a loose leaf notebook; you should provide one advance report for the detail leader and each member of the executive protection team. Prior to submitting the advance report it should be continuously revised and kept up to date in the light of new information gained.
Photographs Be sure to include photos in conjunction with maps of the various areas you assessed on your advance. Photos provide reliable and recent information to the detail leader and the executive protection team on what to expect at each locale.
Goals Your primary duty as the advance man is to provide intelligence to the detail leader concerning the movement of the client. To keep accurate information on the any threats and provide alternative courses of action on how to avoid them so the client will experience a safe and comfortable visit to the operational area in question. Detail leaders depend on their advance man to gain detailed information of the operational area so they can make sound and timely decisions to effectively protect the client upon arrival, during the visit and on departure.
Conclusion Advance work or reconnaissance is the primary means of obtaining information vital to the protection of the client prior to his or her visit to an operational area. Now you have the knowledge to provide superior information necessary for detail leaders and the executive protection teams to make sound decisions. These basic principles of advance work apply to all types of assignments. The foresight you gain from your advance duties will overcome difficulties for the detail leader, executive protection team and most importantly the client. Keep safe and God speed.