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On the road again.

A COMPREHENSIVE EXECUTIVE PROTECTION program encompasses many disciplines, and advance work is a critical component of any plan. It is during this stage that security professionals can spot potentially dangerous situations.

Advance work is a difficult discipline to master as it requires proper training and years of travel. An advance job includes activities and arrangements made prior to and in connection with the trip of a principal.

Advance activities should minimize the risk to a principal, establish a secure area for the principal, provide information vital to the principal's protection, and allow the principal to spend the majority of his or her time on business-related activities.

Some corporate security departments conduct advances as part of their daily security activities; others do so only under specific circumstances, such as overseas trips, when their principals' threat level increases.

The recession has had a tremendous impact on corporate America, resulting in reorganizations, reductions in budgets, downsizing of departments, and layoffs. Security departments, like other departments, are dealing with reduced budgets. Now more than ever, they must justify expenditures.

Conducting advance work is expensive. Following are approximate costs relating to a two-day advance for a trip to London:
Home base: New York
Destination: London
* Airfare: round-trip, business class $3,892.00
* Taxi: round-trip, airport to city
 (2 trips) $155.00
* Car service: (8 hours to run routes) $320.00
* Hotel room: ($300 per night) $600.00
* Meals $130.00
* Salary (based on 30k) $250.00
Total cost: $5,347.00


This is not an all-inclusive list of expenses. Numerous intangibles, such as the complexity of the itinerary or the level of risk anticipated, can have a direct impact on the cost.

Outlays can be reduced by flying coach as opposed to business class or by staying at a less expensive hotel until the principal arrives. Some advance people may choose not to run the routes the principal will travel prior to his or her arrival.

Then there is the other side of the coin--cost increase. Some security professionals require that they fly first class and that car service be provided for more than the one day of the advance.

The time required to perform an advance successfully depends on such factors as trip distance and duration; whether travel is for business, pleasure, or both; whether the itinerary is complex; and the number of principals involved.

An advance can generally be broken down into five sections: pre-advance, transportation, hotels, sites to be visited, and post-advance.

Pre-advance. The pre-advance is a critical component of the total advance job since it lays the foundation for the entire process. A thorough, in-depth pre-advance helps ensure that the advance is accomplished as efficiently and successfully as possible.

During a pre-advance, security professionals should review the proposed itinerary, including transportation, lodging during the trip, participating principals, review of contacts, potential scheduling conflicts, special events, and specific clothing needs.

As most principals repeatedly frequent the same locations, it is to the security professional's advantage to maintain detailed post-trip reports. These reports are a valuable asset when conducting a pre-advance.

Post-trip reports should include travel dates and destinations, security personnel and principals involved, trip purpose, itinerary, lodging, ground and air transportation, maps and surveys, emergency phone problems, pertinent contacts, trip synopsis, weather incurred, problems encountered, and copies of letters of appreciation.

The research to be completed during the pre-advance stage should include information about the destination, such as climate, terrain, type of government, and primary religion; necessary passports, visas, or shots; US embassy and consulate phone numbers; currency and conversion rates; customs restrictions; terrorist organizations operating in the area; official holidays; State Department background notes; phone numbers for lodging and airlines; and car service contacts.

This information can be located through newspapers, bookstores, travel agencies, the US government printing office, tourist centers, US embassies, and foreign consulates.

An advance person should take a number of items for himself or herself on a trip. These include the proposed itinerary, all pertinent contacts, a copy of hotel confirmation and phone numbers, a copy of the principal's passport, all passport information on accompanying security persons, an emergency biography on the principal, cash and credit cards, business cards, a first-aid kit and spare doctor's kit for the principal, a camera, a tape recorder, and a small tool kit.

Proper advance work for transportation, whether car, bus, train, helicopter, ship, or plane, is essential.

Vehicles. Conducting the car service evaluation is the first step to selecting service wisely. Selecting the wrong car service can turn an otherwise well-executed trip into a complete disaster.

Generally, a car service is selected during the pre-advance phase. Selecting a car service that provides the quality, dependability, and professionalism required in the business of executive security can be a time-consuming task. One method of narrowing the field is to solicit recommendations from other colleagues.

When evaluating a car service, an advance person should research the car company's name, address, phone number, and manager or owner; years in business; references; procedures for screening drivers; driver dress code; type and number of vehicles; fleet maintenance; charges per hour; billing cycle; time required to book; backup car service, and type of equipment in cars.

The next step is to ensure that the vehicle and driver that are to be used meet all standards. At the least, security professionals should inspect the driver's license to ensure it is valid. If possible, they should go further, requiring a copy of the Department of Motor Vehicle's record on the driver. Drivers should be thoroughly briefed on their responsibilities and should be given guidelines to follow while driving the principal.

An inspection should be performed on the vehicle chosen for the trip. During the inspection, the advance person should examine the vehicle's physical appearance, including headlights, tail-lights, brake lights, turn signals, spare tire, windows, windshield wipers, air-conditioning and heating, interior lights, horn, reading lights, and telephone for proper working order.

Routes. Selecting the safest, fastest route requires driving the routes at least once prior to the arrival of the principal. Some people think this is not necessary if the driver assures them that he or she knows the area. However, principals appreciate avoiding delays that can be foreseen, such as road construction. Routes should be reexamined just prior to the principal's use of them.

Detailed primary and alternate routes should be put in writing and accompanied by maps. Issues to consider when selecting a route include the date and time the route will be used. Holidays and weekends have a different traffic flow than the average weekday. Lanes may shift when passing through business or industrial areas. Other important factors include bridges (do they open to allow ships to pass?), train tracks and tunnels, school zones, overpasses and underpasses, road construction, special events (such as parades and demonstrations), traffic lights and stop signs, hospitals, police stations, fire houses, and medical facilities.

Commercial airports. The advance person should be thoroughly familiar with the airports to be used. A threat assessment dictates the degree of assistance that should be requested from the airport authorities and police, such as plane-side pickup or police escort. As a courtesy, advance people should notify the local police of necessary information, such as a principal's arrival or departure, regardless of whether assistance is requested.

An advance person should be familiar with the airport facility. He or she should know the location of the airline administrative offices, ticket counters and gates, baggage and lost baggage areas, airline clubs, police office, first-aid station, private telephones, rest rooms, gift shops and newsstands, lost and found, information, customs offices, currency exchange, inner airport and ground transportation, business facilities, nearest restaurants and hotels, construction areas, and religious stands and other areas where groups hand out materials.

An advance person should have the number of the airport paging service as well as the Federal Aviation Administration's phone number. Knowing the estimated time needed for check-in and luggage retrieval as well as time needed to clear immigration are also key to hassle-free and successful passage.

Meeting the passenger service managers or station managers and obtaining direct phone numbers will also be an invaluable aspect of the pre-advance. During this meeting, an advance person should discuss any special needs, such as specific seating assignments, necessity of boarding first or last and having luggage first off, and special menu for the principal.

An advance person should meet with airline personnel to establish an airline contact and get his or her direct phone number. At this point, the security professional should confirm flight information and seat assignments and learn the proposed arrival and departure gate. He or she should also check on backup flights and find out what kind of aircraft the principal will be traveling on and where the flight originates.

The advance person should then learn if a telephone is aboard the proposed aircraft, if delays are expected. This is the time to make any special arrangements for luggage. He or she should request that an airline representative meet the aircraft and assist the principal. It is a good idea to request a private holding room for the executive.

When confirming seat assignments, security people should remember that even on the same type of aircraft, seating configurations vary from airline to airline. They should never assume that a particular seat number will always offer the same comfort and convenience. When flying coach, the greatest leg room can be obtained in seats immediately behind a cabin bulkhead or in an emergency aisle.

Private aviation facilities. Many principals require protection when traveling by private aircraft. Private aviation facilities can be found at large airports or small airfields throughout the world.

In an advance of these facilities, the advance person should know the name, address, and phone number of the service that will handle the aircraft; hours of facility operation; noise restrictions; restrictions on aircraft; length of runway; customs clearance availability; maintenance and fuel capabilities; catering services; hangar space availability; security for airfield; emergency response crew at airfield; de-icing capabilities; police jurisdiction; nearest hospital with trauma unit; clearance for plane-side pickup; and the closest major airport to the facility.

Hotels. Lodging is another critical part of the advance. It is the place where the principal spends a good deal of time while on the trip. Many uncontrollable intangibles concerning lodging can rock the boat.

For example, how happy will a principal be if on arrival at the hotel he or she discovers the service staff is on strike? What if a foreign government delegation is staying at the principal's hotel and the management is holding elevators and blocking traffic in front of the hotel for the delegation?

If all the bases are covered, the principal will have a pleasant stay at the hotel. It is necessary to cultivate key personnel on the hotel's management staff.

The advance person should meet with hotel management to confirm reservations, arrange payment, and specify what amenities should be provided. The advance person should learn the names of managers as well as the concierges for all shifts. Information, such as whether other VIPs are in the hotel and whether special events will be taking place in the hotel, is also valuable.

The advance person should request that the same maid clean the principal's suite each day, find out if it is possible to re-key the room doors, and find out if extra keys will be available. He or she should review all services offered by the hotel.

The advance person should meet with the security director and request a tour of the hotel. Included in this meeting should be a discussion of specific security needs, whether security personnel in the hotel are armed or unarmed, how many officers there are per shift, the type of fire detection system in the hotel, the closest hospital with a trauma unit, where emergency exit doors are accessible, and the crime rate for the area surrounding the hotel.

A thorough inspection should be conducted of the principal's room or suite at this time. During this inspection, the advance person can confirm that all appliances, lights, locks, and plumbing are in proper operating condition. In addition, the inspection will reveal unsafe conditions that may be remedied before the principal arrives.

Principals usually appreciate having a room or suite located in a quiet area. When selecting a room, it is imperative to stay away from stairwells, ice machines, vending areas, elevators, and rooms above or below meeting rooms or lounges.

Information about how to contact their security personnel should be located near the principal's phone.

Sites to be visited. Two locations are often frequented by a principal when he or she is traveling on business: restaurants and office buildings.

Restaurants. A number of items should be reviewed when conducting an advance of a restaurant. These include the manager's and maitre d's names, hours of restaurant operation, the menu, the dress code, kind of interior lighting, and the restaurant's seating capacity.

This would be the appropriate time to arrange for special requirements such as specific seating and the time to be allowed for dinner. Are private rooms available?

Where are the rest rooms, telephones, and other entrances and exits located? Are any special events taking place on the proposed date of the visit? Finally, payment of the bill should be arranged.

Office buildings. Many businesses have tightened up security at their buildings, adding measures, such as requiring all visitors to sign in, be issued identification, and be escorted through the facility during their visit.

This added security is welcomed by executive security personnel. However, it can delay the movement of a principal if the proper clearance has not been approved ahead of time.

The advance work for business visits to offices should include the contact person and phone number, a crime index reading of the area, the closest hospital with trauma unit, security in the building (armed or unarmed), entry requirements for employers and visitors to the building, and hours of access.

The advance person should request a tour of the buildings in question and review their evacuation procedures; kinds of backup power supply; fire detection systems; elevator inspection certificates; parking areas and secure areas for principal's vehicle; and the locations of the rest rooms and telephones. The advance person should also identify all the tenants of the buildings that the principal will visit.

Arrival of the principal. Once the principal arrives, the advance person meets him or her plane-side with the airline representative. The car is waiting, the door is open, the interior is at a comfortable temperature, and the principal is whisked off to the hotel.

No delays are encountered on the way to the hotel. Of course, because the advance was done properly, the principal is already checked into the hotel, and he or she is handed the room key in the car on the way there.

When arriving at the hotel, the bellhop is waiting. On entering his or her room, the principal finds a bottle of the finest champagne chilled at just the right temperature.

Post-advance. After returning from another successful trip, the post-advance begins. The post-advance is an integral part of the total program. The success of a trip is a collaborative effort, with many people having been instrumental.

Just as a football team cannot win with only one player, neither can an advance be successful without the assistance of many people, including hotel staff, drivers, and airline personnel. And many of these contacts will assist in the future. Every advance person should ensure that these valuable contacts are shown proper appreciation. At a minimum, a thank-you letter from the principal should be forwarded to those who assisted on the trip.

Now is when the post-report will be completed and filed for future use. The report is a detailed synopsis of how the trip worked out, specifically noting itinerary, participants, and security measures involved.

Advance work is as demanding and complex as it is important. To be completed successfully, the advance person must be meticulous and possess enormous self-discipline, since he or she is generally working alone with ample opportunity to take shortcuts.

Advance work is also extremely rewarding. The advance person has the self-gratification of knowing he or she was an important part of providing a safe environment for the principal.

Charles H. Blennerhassett, CPP, is a security specialist with James River Corporation in Richmond, VA. Jerome H. Glazebrook is executive assistant and special security advisor to Henry Kissinger in New York City. Both are members of ASIS.

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COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:executive protection program
Author:Blennerhassett, Charles H.; Glazebrook, Jerome H.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Oct 1, 1992
Words:2746
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