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Protective Services

The structure of the American democratic society depends on the intimate association of the people with their chosen leaders. But the dissidents and the disaffected of either extreme, left or right, attempt to isolate public figures from the people. In the face of impeded movement or attempts to embarrass, kidnap, or even assassinate them, many leaders have courageously continued to meet and communicate with the public. They do this despite demonstrations, threats of violence, and assaults. Such violent incidents generate widespread fear. They endanger life. And they interfere with the conduct of business and diplomatic relations. The rights of public and private officials must not be violated: Leaders must be able to communicate with the people. Leaders must be able to function freely and safely. One means of preventing or reducing exposure to violence and of increasing personal safety is through the provision of "protective services."


US Army commanders are responsible for protecting dignitaries and other high-risk individuals in the commanders' areas of responsibility. Commanders must be able to provide professional, personal protection commensurate with the threat. The vulnerability of visiting dignitaries, designated high-risk persons or their families, and other persons needing personal protection must be offset. When threat condition; grade, position, or location of a person; or special conditions presenting a danger to an individual create a need for protective services, resources must be available. And they must be committed in a graduated response to provide sufficient personal protection to counter potential adverse action.




Employment of Weapons

Carry and Use of Firearms




Low-Profile Operations

Low-Intensity Conflict Operations

Preparation and Planning





Detail Leader

Personal Security Officer

Shift Leader

Advance Team

Residence Watch and Baggage Team

Protective Team

Other Support




One of a commander's principal resources to counter the possible danger to an individual is the presence of a protective services (PS) detail. A PS detail may be composed of USACIDC, MP, or other law enforcement personnel. The detail provides an "enhanced response" to developed threats against persons within the commander's area of responsibility. Usually, the PM is responsible for organizing, training, equipping, and maintaining the PS detail.

Some installations may require a PS detail on a full-time basis. But a permanent detail is likely to be the exception rather than the rule. Most installations only require protective services on a part-time basis. And in some instances, such as when the secretary of defense visits an area of military responsibility, a local commander may only be requested to support the PS detail that accompanies the visiting dignitary. But all US Army installations should have identified and trained personnel available for protective services when they are needed.

Specific missions and responsibilities are set by the nature of the circumstances. US Army conduct of a PS mission is limited, in part, by HN responsibilities, Department of the Treasury and Department of State authority, legal and political restrictions, and appropriate regulations. Specific response capabilities are limited by the threat, by availability of resources such as personnel and equipment, and by training time. Sometimes protective services are limited by the personal desires of commanders and protectees.

PS operations in the Army are divided into two categories: those conducted by USACIDC and those conducted by MP assigned to a local PM office.

Headquarters, USACIDC (in accord with AR 1-4, AR 10-23, and AR 190-10) provides security for particular persons designated by higher authority. The chain of command for most USACIDC agents conducting PS remains within USACIDC. USACIDC field elements conduct PS operations only with permission of the Commanding General, USACIDC, or the Chief, Protective Services Activity, USACIDC. But if commitments and availability of resources permit, field elements may be called upon for advice or planning assistance.

Protective services other than those required of USACIDC remain the responsibility of the installation or area commander in whose area a dignitary resides or is visiting. The commander of a geographical area is responsible for the safety and security of all dignitaries and high-risk personnel traveling through his area. (See AR 190-10.) Traditionally, the installation PM is tasked by the commander to provide security for the dignitary. The PM tasks his MP investigators to provide personal security for the designated persons. The MPIs, in turn, are usually augmented by other MP. MP conducting protective services normally report to the PM who, in turn, reports to the installation commander.

The commander controls the resources used for protective services within areas of his military jurisdiction. Funding for protective services is the responsibility of the commander who directs his personnel and commits his assets to such a mission. The Joint Travel Regulation provides funds for persons engaged in protective services in a temporary duty status. For expenses incurred by PM personnel or USACIDC special agents providing protective services, AR 195-4 permits advance funds to cover anticipated expenses or allows recovery of personal funds expended during the mission. Coordination with the local USACIDC element is required of the PM prior to the obligation or expenditure of .0015 funds by PM personnel.


In a PS operation the main participants are the person being protected, known as the principal, and the PS detail. The PS detail has a detail leader (DL), a personal security officer (PSO), an advance team, a protective team, a residence watch, a baggage team, and such other security teams as may be required. Individual members of a PS detail may be involved in more than one element during a particular operation.

Personnel being considered for PS assignments should be in excellent mental and physical condition. They should conform to established Army height and weight standards as prescribed in AR 600-9. They must be reliable, presentable in appearance, intelligent, and articulate. They must qualify as expert on assigned weapons. A knowledge of police unarmed self-defense tactics is desirable. Knowledge of the principal's language, if foreign, is desirable but not essential; interpreters or translators are usually provided by the host. The candidate must be aware of the inherent dangers and adversities of the assignment. He or she must be willing to sacrifice personal safety to protect a principal at the risk of serious personal injury or even death.

Members of details must be thoroughly familiar with protocol requirements, personality information, and itineraries. And they must be fully briefed on all aspects of the mission. They must be able to act quickly and appropriately in an emergency situation. And they must be completely experienced in all aspects of PS operations.

When adverse action is directed against a principal, it is the smooth, professional, and organized actions of the PS detail that will most effectively counter the threat. Security personnel must be trained so well that in an emergency, despite the excitement and emotion involved, they will instinctively act correctly. Security personnel must be proficient in special techniques. They must be able to protect the principal when he is walking or traveling by motor vehicle, train, aircraft, or boat. They must be able to protect the principal when participating at public assemblies.

Although difficult, and in some cases impossible, PS details should ideally train together, much as special reaction teams and other small Army units do. Protection demands teamwork. A PS detail functions as a unit. Each person on the detail must be fully aware of his responsibilities and reactions as well as what he can expect from his detail members. Currently, most PS training is not geared to team training. It is difficult for each Army agency to release five to seven people at a time, because there are many other commitments that are also being met by these individuals. But once personnel are identified as part-time or full-time PS personnel, it is recommended that they train as a team to refine their individual skills and coordinate teamwork.


Of primary importance for a PS detail is the anticipated use of weapons. The employment of weapons is made with the following considerations in mind:

  • Availability of weapons.
  • Threat analysis.
  • Location of the mission.
  • Desires of the chain of command.

The employment of weapons must be consistent with established Army policy and with local and foreign laws. PS personnel armed with automatic weapons must have successfully qualified with these weapons. Supervisors must ensure that firearms training is well documented and made a matter of permanent record.


PS personnel are armed with a US Army sidearm. When required by the mission, they have access to riot shotguns, rifles, or automatic weapons. Riot agent grenades or dispensers are carried and protective masks are available for members of the official party and security personnel when threat conditions warrant.

USACIDC agents are authorized to carry concealed weapons in the performance of their official PS and investigative duties in accordance with AR 190-14. MP assigned to PS details carry their assigned firearm during the performance of their official duties by authorization under AR 190-14. They must have a DA Form 2818 (Firearms Authorization) in their possession. MP who are authorized to carry concealed firearms in the performance of official duties have a great moral responsibility to themselves, the principal, and the US Army.

PS personnel may be authorized to carry concealed firearms outside the US. But they must have prior approval from the country to be visited. Approval may be obtained through the US embassy or through official agencies of the host country. But the approval may be revoked at any time by the host country.

After permission has been obtained from local authorities, PS members may have to arrange to obtain their weapons from local US agencies in the host country. Or they may have to have the weapons delivered to them aboard the principal's official aircraft. If permission to carry weapons is not granted, guidance must be obtained from the local commander.

Aboard aircraft the weapon must be carried concealed or locked in a briefcase retained by the individual. Personnel carrying a concealed weapon aboard an aircraft must notify appropriate airline officials of the presence of the weapon before boarding. Federal law enforcement officers are exempt under 49 USC 1472(1) from surrendering the weapon to the airline representative. However, final authority rests with the commander of the aircraft. Upon request, personnel must give up control of the weapon to the aircraft commander. Usually when escorting a principal aboard an aircraft, the weapon is not surrendered; however, exceptions to such policies are governed by the circumstances of the mission. The weapon may be transported in locked luggage stowed in the baggage compartment of the aircraft in accordance with AR 190-14. The weapon must be unloaded.

When it is necessary to carry firearms aboard a military aircraft, prior coordination must be made with the appropriate flight commander, the operations officer, or the pilot in command of the aircraft.

PS detail members must be familiar with AR 190-28, which governs their use of firearms. All weapons must be used in accordance with this regulation and its supplements; local, federal, and foreign laws; and the mature judgment of PS personnel.

The response to firearms presented against a principal does not include members of the protective team returning fire. The return fire may cause death or grievous injury to innocent bystanders. PS personnel maintain a defensive posture and evacuate the principal from the "kill zone."

There are situations when the immediate use of firearms is the proper response. This would occur in extreme circumstances. If the principal's vehicle is disabled in a kill zone of an ambush, return fire is appropriate. If organized attack occurs by multiple assailants, return fire is appropriate.

Supervisors coordinate weapons employment with participating law enforcement agencies when PS missions involve interoperability with other agencies. They ensure full understanding of the guidelines for weapons deployment and use.

Although no definitive rules of engagement exist, it is generally agreed that any defensive actions taken by members of the protective team are undertaken for protective reasons or in self-defense rather than for law enforcement. In making this determination, one should consider if the subject constitutes a present or a continuing threat to the principal. Or circumstances may indicate that the subject might repeat the unlawful act that is considered to be a threat to the principal. When restraining the subject, only that force necessary to accomplish restraint is used. The incident is then immediately reported to the appropriate federal, state, or local police or foreign authorities. And the subject is remanded to their custody. The action taken by the protective team must be shown to have been necessary under an emergency situation. The restraint used must have been minimal. And the restraint must have been only to the extent needed to deliver the subject to the custody of civil authorities. The action taken must have been in self-defense or to protect the principal. And the protective team must have acted properly in fulfilling their official responsibilities and statutory duties as officers of the federal government.


The goal of a PS mission is to protect the principal from all hazards. This includes hazards caused by personal design, accident, or negligence. But absolute protection is never possible. Thus the objective of a PS detail must be to operate in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of an attack and its chances of success.

The "deterrence factor" offered by the presence of a PS team is invaluable. If the protective force is alert and firm in dispatching its responsibilities, the apparent control will be evident. Voluntary cooperation on the part of the public usually follows. The acquired atmosphere of command frequently prevents the need for further action. Sometimes ostentatious display of protective equipment and personnel is needed under some circumstances, such as in a combat zone or a hostile fire zone, to bolster the deterrent factor.

Every element of protection must be thoroughly planned in advance. Every actor movement of the principal and the protective detail must be scrutinized to ensure maximum security. All personnel must be well briefed on emergency procedures. They must be able to react instantly and correctly. Good preventive measures may save the life of the protector as well as the person protected.

Planning is critical to success. Every phase of a protective mission must be carefully planned. The possibility of unexpected changes requires flexibility in planning such missions. Alternate and contingency plans should be prepared. They should cover such circumstances as inclement weather, possible threats, or any other actions that may affect the security of the principal. Coordination with the host agency as well as other persons involved in the visit is essential.

In all cases, advance work is the key to success. Advance work is the coordination of all security arrangements before the arrival of the principal at each location being visited. For some missions, advance work is extensive and complex, while other missions may require less. The extent of the work depends on the threat, the availability of resources and manpower, and the personal desires of the principal or the local commander.

As far as possible, protective personnel should adapt themselves to the convenience of the principal. They should avoid interfering with the principal's official or private functions. The protection must not unnecessarily interfere with the principal's freedom of action. His privacy must always be respected. And every effort must be made not to embarrass him or interfere with his activities. Protective measures and personnel should always be as unobtrusive as circumstances permit.

The resources used to protect the principal depend on the duration of the principal's travels. They also depend on the kind of public exposure desired by the principal or required by circumstances. The modes of transportation used, the locations visited, and the ideologies of the population with which the principal will have contact also influence resource use. So too does the analysis of inherent threats obtained during advance threat information collection. Support of local police is important. They may be integrated into the security in depth, and they can provide valuable threat information.

Release of personal information about the principal and other members of his party is closely controlled. Certain details of the itinerary and the security procedures to be employed are also closely controlled. Security personnel do not discuss or release this information to other than authorized persons. Particular care is taken with regard to representatives of the press. Release of information can adversely affect the integrity of the mission. Current guidelines stress that the itinerary of a general officer is at least marked "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY." It may be upgraded when needed.

Generally, PS personnel wear clothing like that worn by the principal. Conservative business suits are appropriate when escorting a principal wearing a class A uniform. Unconventional styles or colors should not be worn during PS missions. Sports jackets and slacks of conservative cut and color may be appropriate for informal occasions. Formal wear, such as a tuxedo, may be required for the PSO and some members of the team. Sometimes specialized clothing like swimsuits or ski clothing is needed. If not available, these items may be rented or purchased, when specifically authorized. Standard equipment for a PS mission is listed in Appendix D.


The Army concept of personal security is based on the principle of "defense in depth." Coordination and flexibility are the watchwords to organizing a defense in depth. A series of protective cordons is established around the principal. The cordons are designed to prevent an attack or absorb its shock to such an extent that the results will not be tragic. They control the space above, below, and on all sides of the principal. Movement control within these cordons is normally established by an identification system. The system may use personal recognition, passes, badges, or even unobtrusive lapel pins.

The inner cordon should be manned by the PSO and protective team members. This includes the shift leader on larger PS details. These people are those who have been school-trained and are experienced enough to occupy the positions of PSO and shift leader.

The middle cordon should be manned by USACIDC or MP personnel who have PS training offered in basic USACIDC and MPI courses and by local law enforcement personnel.

The outer cordon should be manned by MP and local law enforcement personnel. This cordon comprises surveillance posts, such as observation posts, listening posts, sniper positions, static posts, and response teams.

These cordons are fluid in nature and must be flexible to adjust to the situation at hand. There are no defined areas for these cordons with regard to distance from one to the other. The distance between cordons is established on a case-by-case basis. It is based on the threat, location, crowd, personality of the principal, and desires of the chain of command. The PSO or the DL will adjust the cordons to fit the situation.

Sometimes, particularly overseas where there is shared responsibility between the US and the host nation governments, changes to the positions in these cordons are made.


The axiom "know the enemy" is basic to successful PS operations. PS details must vary the kind and degree of protection accorded the principal to suit the kind and degree of danger presented by the threat.


Sometimes it may be advantageous to modify classic PS procedures to reduce the notice paid to the principal and his need for protection. At these times a detail undertakes a "low-profile" operation. A low-profile operation employs only the protective measures that do not draw unnecessary attention to the principal. Such operations do not necessarily lessen manpower commitments, nor are they less costly. The protective coverage becomes more discreet, involves considerable planning and ingenuity, and generally is more difficult to conduct than a high-profile operation. Often the middle and outer cordons of protection are strengthened, allowing the inner cordon to be less obtrusive.

Low-profile operations do not provide much visible protection close to the principal. This differs from a high-profile operation. Keeping a low profile may be, however, the best course of action. Sometimes the political situation requires it. Sometimes a principal desires a low-key security operation.


More and more US military personnel are being called upon to provide protective services in areas in which circumstances approach combat conditions. Such low-intensity conflict (LIC) situations require changes in the appearance of PS operations. A change may be only the implementing of a dress code. Or it may mean an upgrading of weapon systems and the understanding of rules of engagement with ostensibly hostile personnel.

In areas outside the US, it is imperative that coordination be made with the US Embassy as well as the major military command responsible for the area. Diplomatic as well as military rules and guidelines differ with the locale. PS personnel planning to travel to an LIC area must know the ground rules before entering the area.

The overriding concern in an LIC area is the need to conform to the tactical rules governing travel into the area. The "how to" perform protective services does not change. Advance work is still required. Threat analysis is done and updated. Itineraries must be prepared and safeguarded. Routes must be examined and safe havens identified. Plans for evacuation must be considered. And special attention must be given to the potential for injuries and the ever-present possibility of capture.

The major concern of PS personnel in an LIC area is to carry out the mission in accord with established policies of the US government.


When notified of an impending mission, a chronological events journal is started. It is used to record all information about the mission. And it is used to retain all information produced as a result of the mission. The journal is considered to be an official document. It serves to record actions by the PS detail. It helps in preparing the after-action report. And it may be acceptable for presentation to a board of inquiry if an incident occurs adversely affecting the security of the principal.

The planning of the mission is done in two stages. The results of preliminary information received with the notice of the mission become the basis for a written personal security plan. This plan is the documentation that gives authority for the mission. It serves as a basis to fix responsibilities. It allows the measuring of resources against tasks to be performed. And it provides a standardized format for conveying information and instructions. The mission DL is responsible for preparing the security plan. The plan is given to all members of the security detail. The original is retained on file. The plan is for official use only. It is controlled in the same manner as the principal's itinerary.

Coordination between the protective services chain of command and a member of the visiting dignitary's staff is tantamount to a successful PS operation. A visiting dignitary must be informed that a PS detail will be assigned to him upon his arrival at the receiving commander's area of responsibility. This information can be transmitted from PM to PM, or from PM to aide-de-camp or executive officer by telephone or by message.

The second stage of planning requires an on-site survey by the advance security team of all areas to be visited by the principal. The itinerary for the proposed visit should be obtained from the principal's office or the host agency as soon as it is prepared. It should be reviewed to determine if sufficient information has been furnished to permit advance security arrangements to be made.

A threat collection effort should begin as soon as practical after receipt of the itinerary. This is normally accomplished by coordinating with the US Secret Service, FBI, State Department, USACIDC, military intelligence, and other local, federal and foreign law enforcement or intelligence-gathering agencies. Efforts to identify possible threats to the principal at all locations to be visited will be undertaken by these agencies. Should information considered prejudicial to the safety of the principal be developed, the developing agency will notify the mission DL of the PS detail. Frequent contact with intelligence-gathering agencies should be maintained throughout the mission to ensure a current threat analysis.


This portion of the mission commences with the implementation of all prior planning. Often the information developed by the advance team is used in preparing the operations annex to the security plan. Execution is effected using the proper methods and techniques suited to the mission at hand. The execution phase ends with the completion of the visit or event, or upon order of competent authority.


A critique is held in the final stage of a PS operation. The purpose of the critique is to discuss the success or failure of the mission. It is conducted so that all participants will have a clear, orderly idea of what was done correctly and incorrectly. To improve PS operations, intelligent, tactful, and constructive criticism is necessary. A critique is most effective if it is held as soon as possible after the mission is completed. The critique is so important that it must be considered a phase of the PS operation itself. The effectiveness of a critique depends on the flexibility with which the reviewer employs it. In conducting the critique, the reviewer presents criticisms. He comments in a straightforward, impersonal manner. Participants should leave the critique with a favorable attitude toward the PS operation and a desire to improve the next one. Examples of personal initiative and ingenuity and types of errors and ways to correct the errors should be covered. PS personnel should be encouraged to participate in the discussion to ensure the critique is a learning experience and not an "admonishment."

Supervisory personnel can take notes to guide the critique, but detailed planning is not practical. However, coverage of essential elements includes--

  • Restating objectives of the mission. This enables the participants to start on a common ground. Participants who were concerned with a particular aspect of the subject may have forgotten the overall objectives.
  • Reviewing procedures and techniques employed, briefly summarizing the methods used to attain the objectives.
  • Evaluating PS detail performance. This is the most important part of the critique.
  • Using notes taken during the mission, the DL points out and discusses the strong points, then the weaker points, and makes suggestions for improvement. All remarks must be specific and impersonal. Detail members cannot profit from generalities.
  • Controlling the discussion to keep the critique to issues at hand and yet ensure thorough review.
  • Summarizing. The critique is concluded with a brief but comprehensive summation of the points brought out.

The critique culminates in a after-action report. Written in narrative form, this report relates the highlights of the PS mission. It is written by the mission DL as soon as possible after the mission. He used his notes and those of security team members and the journals and comments of the principal, his staff, the personal security officer, and the residence watch. Personnel other than the protective force who were instrumental in the execution of the mission should be fully identified. A file with this information is maintained for future reference. Emphasis is placed on problem areas encountered and on the procedures necessary to eliminate them. Recommendations are written in detail for improving, planning, coordination, personnel, and equipment. A file copy is kept for use in improving future operations.


Individuals assigned to PS details must be constantly aware of the proper techniques they must employ to successfully accomplish their mission. Fulfillment of a mission requires close teamwork on behalf of the detail. This requires a thorough understanding of the individual and collective responsibilities of the members of the detail. The safety of a principal in a threat situation can only be guaranteed by team members who are physically fit and mentally alert and who possess sufficient expertise to perform their duty in an overall planned response to an emergency situation.

Responsibilities must be clearly defined and individuals should be assigned a specific responsibility for each phase of the mission. Project officers, protocol officers, and hosts of the activity that the principal will visit should be identified and their responsibility established in conjunction with the PS mission requirements. Coordination between all these persons must be established to ensure complete protection of the principal. When two or more agencies are protecting distinguished persons, the agency protecting the senior official has overall responsibility for security measures.


Principals have a responsibility to contribute to the success of the mission by respecting the purpose of the mission and the responsibility of the detail assigned to carry it out. The education of the principals to this responsibility is critical to the overall success of PS missions. Many designated principals inherently feel that being combat leaders serving in command positions exempts them from a real need for a PS detail. Persons in the chain of command responsible for establishing the PS detail must ensure that the principal, his staff, and his family are fully briefed. The briefing includes the responsibilities of the detail and how the close working relationship between all persons contributes to the smooth execution of the PS mission.

The relationship between the principal and the PS detail has a professional and definitive basis. Principals should be encouraged to recognize and respect the professional distance kept by the detail. Members of PS details--

  • Keep all contacts with the official party formal. Detail members do not attempt to develop close relationships with the official party, nor do they accept favors from the official party.
  • Except in emergencies, make all contacts with the official party through the PSO.
  • Avoid presuming on protocol or escort prerogatives.
  • Avoid attracting notice, calling attention to themselves, or trying to impress people.
  • Respect the principal's privacy. Whenever possible, detail members adapt themselves and the protection they provide to the convenience of the principal. They make every effort to avoid interference with the principal's personal freedom.
  • Abstain from any activity which could reduce their mental or physical capabilities. Alcoholic beverages are not consumed during nor for a minimum of eight hours prior to the execution phase of the mission.


The DL establishes a close working relationship with the principal's staff and the project and protocol officer of the host agency. He obtains detailed itineraries, biographical sketches, protocol information, and any other protective type information. The mission DL discusses with host agency officials such matters as press policies and the amount of public exposure desired by the principal, funding considerations, and any other matters of mutual concern. He establishes liaison with the staff of the officials involved, transportation agencies, and civil and military police. He collects, evaluates, and disseminates threat information. He coordinates the utilization of available manpower and equipment resources. He reviews the security plan formulated by the advance team. He disseminates copies of the plan to appropriate agencies. During the execution phase of the mission, he supervises and provides guidance and leadership to participating subordinates. In the final review, he conducts a post-mission critique. And he supervises the preparation of the after-action report.

DLs have a responsibility to help detail members maintain peak performance. The long hours, day after day, of a PS operation, the requirement for prolonged absences from home, and the ever-present need to be constantly mentally and physically fit place tremendous stress on PS personnel. PS operations are jeopardized if a detail member suffers "burnout" from being overstressed. Supervisors must understand and help control the stress in which detail members operate. Time off can be critical in controlling stress.

Supervisors must make themselves available for guidance on matters of tact and good judgment. Normally, security personnel should not accept gifts even though they are presented in gratitude by the principal. If gifts cannot be refused without offending the principal, they should be accepted and the DL notified. Under no circumstances should the feelings of the dignitary be offended. Supervisors must ensure that a brief written statement is prepared that gives the circumstances of acceptance, a description of the gift, and an estimate of its value. Many times the principal or a member of his official party will give each member of the protective force a souvenir or memento of his visit. Caution must be exercised to ensure that these items do not have high intrinsic value nor place a financial burden on the giver.

The nature of PS inherently lends itself to close interpersonal relationships. Often a PS member endears himself to his principal through mutual respect and admiration and a meshing of personalities. Such a relationship can tremendously enhance the relationship between the principal and the entire PS detail. As long as this relationship remains within professional parameters, the overall success of the PS mission is virtually assured.


The PSO is responsible for the close-in security of the principal and normally accompanies him whenever he is away from his residence. To ensure continuity, unity of effort, and control, the PSO is usually the only point of contact between the members of the PS detail and the principal and his staff. The PSO and the DL may be the same person.

Upon initial contact with the principal, the PSO briefs him and his staff concerning the security arrangements. The PSO is prepared to discuss any areas of particular concern to the principal. It is essential that the PSO obtain the confidence, respect, and cooperation of the principal as rapidly as possible.

A close working relationship must be maintained between the PSO and the mission DL. This can be accomplished by communicating on a daily basis whenever necessary. While overall control of the mission remains the responsibility of the mission DL, it is imperative that the PSO be afforded adequate authority and sufficient freedom of action to accomplish his assignment.

Effective communications are vital to an efficient PS detail. The PSO must be in constant communication with other members of the security force and the security control room or command post. (In many cases the security control room and the command post are one and the same.)

Two-way radio equipment should be available. This can be accomplished with hand portable radios. However, these radios should be equipped with surveillance kits to enable security personnel to use the radios quietly when near the principal. Radio noise should not be heard by or allowed to disrupt the activities of the principal and party.

Hand-held and portable base station frequency modulation radios provide appropriate communications within the PS detail. Communications between vehicles is maintained by vehicular-mounted radios supplemented by portable radios. When air cover is provided, special provisions to ensure effective communications between air and ground units must be made.


On larger PS details, a shift leader is designated for a given protective team. He works for the PSO and is responsible for his shift of personnel. The shift leader position is useful where there are sufficient PS personnel assigned to a mission to warrant three eight-hour shifts. A shift leader is actually another management position to maintain maximum command and control. He is analogous to the squad leader in a typical Army platoon.


The mission of the advance team is to precede the principal and conduct on-site security surveys. The team effects necessary security coordination, making all security arrangements. When the PSO arrives at each location to be visited a member of the advance team meets him and provides information concerning local security arrangements. When appropriate, the advance team provides the PSO with details of the visit, including maps, sketches, names of people involved, telephone numbers, and so forth.

After receiving an assignment for a PS mission, the DL designates a member to be in charge of the advance work. In most cases, more than one person is assigned to the advance team. But in all cases there must be one person designated as the controlling advance man at each location to be visited.

Advance work begins as soon as the mission is assigned and the DL receives the basic information. The advance team starts a workbook for recording all advance team activities. The workbook also contains checklists to be used.

In addition to the standard requirements that must be accomplished by the advance team, there are other intangible considerations that must be evaluated and discussed before and during an advance. These include the personality of the principal and consideration for his family members. They also include personal information (sometimes more than is available in a biographical sketch), that is, physical fitness training programs, religious preferences, medical problems, hobbies, language capabilities or lack of them, physical impairments that may affect travel or lodging, and any other unusual traits that could affect the mission. Much of this information can be obtained from the principal, his aide-de-camp, or his staff.

Once the advance team has gathered all available information, they go to the places to be visited by the principal well ahead of his scheduled arrival. Sometimes they go as much as weeks in advance depending on the duration of travel by the principal. Upon arrival at these locations, the advance team contacts identified points of contact, commanders, protocol officers, and other people designated to assist with the advance work.

Duties of the advance team at each locality include, but are not limited to, establishing effective working relations with the host agency and conducting security checks of places and equipment with which the principal will be involved.

At military reservations and facilities the advance team coordinates with the commanding officer, the PM, the public affairs officer, the intelligence officer, the engineer, the transportation officer, and the communications officer to--

  • Obtain a map or plan of the reservation or base showing the entrances, exits, or docking area to be used by the official party.
  • Select quarters for party (if applicable).
  • Review jointly the security aspects of the activities that the principal will view or in which he will participate, such as reviewing troops, witnessing demonstrations, and inspecting or examining devices and equipment.
  • Ascertain the availability of communications, such as radios, telephones, telegraph, and so forth, including secure voice capability.
  • Review the accommodations, that is, food, refreshments, recreation facilities, and the like.


When traveling with a principal, the residence watch and baggage team are normally part of the advance team. However, a residence watch functions at all times for a permanently located detail.

One of the most sensitive areas is the principle's residence. The residence watch is normally responsible for the security of the residence. It also establishes the command post. It is responsible for organizing and coordinating security arrangements with the responsible individual from each facility under its charge. The residence watch also performs advance actions at hotels, motels, and military reservations and facilities.

The primary purpose of the baggage team is to maintain accountability of all items of personal and official property belonging to the principal and the members of the official party who are traveling with or closely associating the principal. The primary function is to protect all items from loss or theft and to prevent the introduction of foreign objects or explosives into the principal's aircraft, vehicle, or residence.


The protective team is normally composed of the PSO and the other members of the PS detail in the closest proximity to the principal. On larger details the protective team would normally form a protective formation for routine walking movements around a principal.

The protective team should remain close to the principal at all times, changing their relative position frequently. Security personnel must ensure that an assailant is unable to get between the principal and the protective detail.

Before any person is allowed to approach the principal or his personal property, he should be checked to establish his identity and the authority for his presence. This is especially true at the principal's residence, at public and sporting events, and near the principal's means of transportation. Whenever possible, the protective team should obtain advance lists of expected guests, visitors, press representatives, and people performing services for the principal.

The protective team and residence watch should quickly learn to recognize all employees, regular visitors, members of the official party, and any public figures who are expected to call. No stranger should be admitted without the permission of the principal or a member of his staff.

Although the security of other members of the official party is secondary to that of the principal, some degree of safety should be provided these persons. If a member of the official party is injured, the entire mission could be adversely affected. In some situations, it is an additional responsibility of the protective detail to provide limited protection for other members of the official party when traveling with the principal. When members of the principal's family accompany him on trips, it is not uncommon for members of the protective team to provide security and escort for female members and minor children. Proper planning for manpower and vehicular support is necessary to accomplish this phase of a mission.

Because a protective team is usually small, effective security often depends on the voluntary cooperation of the public. Friendly consideration for the public, especially the press, and a clear portrayal of the need for security stimulates the cooperation of the public and the press. Inquiries or requests not related to security matters should be referred to the appropriate member of the official party. Security personnel should refrain from unnecessary conversation with the public and, most of all, with the press.


There are many other individuals and agencies who may be called upon to support a PS operation. A typical PS operation includes support from local civilian law enforcement personnel, law enforcement personnel from other branches of the armed services, EOD units, military intelligence offices, civilian intelligence-gathering agencies, fire department personnel, medical personnel, pilots, aircraft crews, ground support personnel, translators and interpreters, and drivers. This support is routinely requested by the organization responsible for the PS operation. Most military and civilian law enforcement and intelligence agencies have supported PS operations in some capacity and are very responsive to requested support. The best way to assure acquiring this support is through good continuing liaison with all agencies concerned.


In a majority of instances, the safety of a principal is most critical when he is among the public and walking through crowds, into buildings, and to public events in which he will participate.

If possible, the selection of walking time and routes should be varied. Accompanying PS detail members should be dispersed so they can cover all avenues of access to the principal. They should continually adjust their relative positions to ensure that no attacker is able to get between the protectors and the principal. During outdoor walks, the principal's motorcade should cruise in the immediate vicinity. The automobile can block any vehicle that may threaten the principal's safety. It can also be used to transport the principal in case an emergency develops, or it appears necessary to seek a safer location.

Escorting a principal requires being highly alert to surrounding areas. Particular emphasis is placed on people in crowds who are either participating in the event or are drawn to the area out of curiosity. Close-in security should be established immediately around the principal. Additional concentric cordons of defense are added to the greatest possible extent.

At indoor assemblies, typical defense cordons should be formed immediately around the principal. They are also formed around the confines of the room occupied by the principal and around the grounds where the building is located. The personnel manning the defensive cordons should take control of the area before the arrival of guests or the general public. A careful search and an inspection of the area should be made at the time protection is established. The area is then secured until opened to the public.


No two sites are exactly alike. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to establish a set of rules that will be completely applicable to all sites. There are, however, specific guidelines that must be applied to ensure that minimum acceptable standards are applied in each situation. PS personnel should refer to FM 19-30 when formulating a security plan. The intricacy of the plan depends on site configuration and the mission.

Security plans must prescribe specific responsibilities for all actions required to protect the principal and the site. They must consider the need for personnel, materiel, and vehicle control. They must also consider the use of protective alarms and devices. The plans must designate priorities of protection based on analysis of criticality and vulnerability after considering available threat information. Plans must include consideration of assistance available from military units in the area, as well as civilian sources. All plans must be coordinated with civil authorities because civil authorities have primary responsibility for the protection of all private, public, and federal property.


Protective services during travel are designed for the method of transportation used. The DL or his designee contacts the appropriate transportation authority to obtain pertinent information needed for planning.

Maximum personal protection during travel is the product of a comprehensive program. That program integrates the mode of transportation with security measures, such as--

  • Varying daily routes.
  • Being alert to any changes in the locality.
  • Developing defensive driving skills.
  • Being constantly vigilant.
  • Employing other measures, weapons, and equipment.

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