A Look back 2014-2020: Establishing a National Standard for Executive Protection Training; Old News to ISA.

ISA and National Standards for EP Training, Preaching to the Choir or Writing the First Hymn.

First posted Nov 12, 2018

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

History Lesson

 In 2011 after the shooting of Rep Gabrielle Giffords a member of the United States House of Representatives representing Arizona’s 8th congressional district during a public meeting ISA was approached by local law enforcement seeking close protection training so they could support their own elected officials. A 50-hour course, we covered the basics of physical and event security, advance work, movement, and a few AOP drills. 

 In preparing for this course we found there was no national regulatory or quantifiable standard for the training of state and local law enforcement in close protection, so we reached out to the Dept of Defense Law Enforcement and Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers for some guidance on a recommended syllabus and training standards. Taking what they could share and our previous operational experience we built a 70-hour course.

 In late 2011 we had inquiries from private sector EP service providers requesting “accredited” training and once again we discovered there wasn’t an industry standard for civilian executive protection agents except in the Commonwealth of Virginia, so the ISA course managers conducted a costly and manpower intensive full year-long assessment of law enforcement and civilian EP training and reviewed EP operations in the field. This process is known as Instructional Systems Design (ISD) and it identified the core critical skills required to conduct protective service operations for any level of threat and for most types of clients.


 As a result of the findings of the ISD EP training assessment, we decided our EP training program would be primarily governed by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice regulation related to Private Security Services Training Schools 6VAC20-173, and we selected the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers 11-day Protective Service Operations Training Program as our model. By doing so we also accepted the quantifiable standards of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for the training of a protective service agent as our own. And by modeling our basic EP training program on the federal standards we also exceeded the state requirements of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice 32E Personel Protection Specialist program. 

 Note: To meet the requirements of federal and military agencies and departments ISA has also based some of our training programs on the US Army Advanced Law Enforcement Training Division Protective Services Training Course 7H-F18/ASID7/830-F13,  and although not legally required, ISA also voluntarily adheres to the applicable sections of the Department of Defense Manual 3115.11, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Training Evaluation Field Guide and to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation Agencies (FLETA) Accreditation Board Procedures and Standards Manual 2015 Edition Revised November 29, 2018.

 By adhering to and following the guidelines and requirements in these manuals and regulations in 2012 Independent Security Advisors Executive Protection Training Programs received the first of our six (6) accreditations and state regulatory agency approvals.

An expensive and time-consuming process we felt was worth the effort because our students benefited from having an approved curriculum accepted for law enforcement in-service continuing education credits and a private sector state credential. we ensure the student will receive standardized training on the skills and procedures needed to conduct or support Protective Service Operations as a single officer/agent or as part of a larger protective detail for protectee’s who are or may become potential targets of terrorism and/or criminal acts.

    From State Accredited to National Standards

In February 2014 ISA partnered with A University hoping we would be taking the first step in establishing a recognized national standard in executive protection training and accreditation. In fact, on Feb 21, 2014, we posted the following;

By combining ISA training courses with the University’s web-based training program, students receive both hands-on and theoretical foundation of dignitary and executive protection. 

This partnership with an institution of higher learning we hope will be the first step in establishing a recognized national standard in executive protection training and accreditation”.

But alas, national standards didn’t catch on, instead, some of our “peers” took to questioning our program as the first step in a federal take over of private training for EP.

Industry Endorsements a Pathway to National Standards

Not to be deterred we moved forward and in April 2014 we received the endorsement of the International Foundation for Protection Officers. A national 501c3 non-profit. And at that time we posted the following;


“ISA is pleased to announce that our dignitary protection training program has received the endorsement of the International Foundation for Protection Officers.

ISA and the IFPO both believe in the importance of education and certification for close protection specialists and security officers. With this endorsement, ISA pledges to stand with the IFPO as they develop and maintain standards for the training and ethical conduct of security professionals.

We are honored to join with the IFPO for the purpose of furthering education and certification opportunities for its membership and to aid in that goal, we have extended scholarships, reduced tuition, and additional training courses to its members.  We look forward to working with the International Foundation for Protection Officers in 2014 and beyond”.

The result, crickets, nothing. Two attempts to integrate education and training with national standards and little if any attention was paid in the private sector, but in contrast law enforcement agencies reached out to us for training and we have had over 300 officers, deputies, agents, and troopers attend training with us.    

Baby Steps

Then on 12 December 2014 after months of being vetted, analyzed, evaluated and reviewed, we became an approved alternative training provider for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Personal Protection Specialist Program 32E & I.

The PPS program has mandatory training, required hours, established standards and conduct of EP training, surely this with the other programs would help establish a dialog within the industry about a national standard of  EP training.

At the time we posted the following;   ISA and The Virginia DCJS PPS Accreditation

“Pre-Approved Alternative Training The ISA dignitary protection training course meets or exceeds the DCJS course requirements and will be accepted for credit in lieu of the DCJS equivalent. Both the Entry Level (32E) & In-Service (32I) courses have been approved.

 ISA is not a Virginia certified training provider because we are not a Virginia based company. But as we go forward into 2015 we look forward to continuing our mission of establishing a national standard of training and accreditation for dignitary and executive protection specialists with all our friends and partners.

 ISA will continue to work with universities and colleges, law enforcement, state and federal agencies, and private security associations to ensure we continue to improve our training programs now and into the future. Dignitary Protection, Executive Protection Training, ISA News December 22, 2014″.

 Since December 2014 there has been some movement towards a national standard, in fact on 4-29-2013 the former American Board for Certification in Dignitary and Executive Protection (ABCDEP) announced they were about to complete their national standard for training and certification for EP. And for those who went forward with that program they can convert their ABCDEP certification to a National Sheriffs’ Association/Global Society of Homeland and National Security Professionals Certification. 


Now here we are in 2018, and we are still discussing standards. In fact on November 7th, 2018 Mr. Christian West & Jared Van Driessch wrote an article titled  “The Executive Protection Industry Lives in a Glasshouse. Let’s improve standardization instead of throwing stones”

In the chapter “Where is the drive towards standardization in the executive protection industry” The authors write the following passages,

“Every EP school has its own take on what comprises essential training” &  “Standardized training curricula, evaluations, and certifications would all be steps in the right direction”

Update 1-30-2020

 At the time of this original article we wrote; “And we agree with the authors whole heartily but given the different philosophies of training, we have spoken about previously https://www.eptraining.us/selecting-a-executive-protection-training-program/ is it really a viable plan to “standardize” EP training programs nationally?  We have come to the conclusion the answer is no, not unless the program is federalized”.

Today: We have revised our answer addressing the misgivings of those who oppose a federal regulatory answer to EP standards. The same people who call for a national CCW but don’t want any standards or requirements to go with it.

 We already have federal standards for EP training, they can be found in GSA regulations and DOD contracts with private sector training providers. These regulations only apply to government contractors but could very well serve as templates for a national standard by the private sector.   


In the UK there is such a national program under the Security Industry Authority (SIA), the statutory organization responsible for regulating the private security industry. This program working with private educational qualification bodies oversees training requirements, testing, and issuance of credentials. 

The terminal learning objectives and enabling learning objectives as well as the standards of that training are established and required by the SIA. Industry organizations and associations had a hand in preparing the curriculum, and while not “perfect” it is an excellent foundation of training. And for those who lobby for a national CCW this program would seem to fit in with your demand for a national license for EP services.


 There are also those who believe federal national standards would negatively impact state rights, increase the cost to operate and the industries aversion to additional regulations would lead to legal challenges. All good points and federalization of EP training regulations and standards are simply not a realistic option because there is no interest by the federal government to impose them.

 So where does this leave us?  ISA believes in a private sector industry-led effort to establish a standard for EP training, and it will be the students and the clients that use our services that will at some point insist on that national standard.

Going forward; Using the model established by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) an independent non-profit organization since 1972, we believe it is possible to raise the standards and quality of EP training by testing and certifying EP instructors and programs.

How would it work

 ASE promotes excellence in vehicle repair and service with almost 300,000 Automotive Technicians and Service Professionals holding ASE Certifications. ASE certifies automotive technicians and service professionals, not the auto shops. Warranty and insurance companies insist on or require ASE certified technicians work on cars under their policies, some hiring managers and clients would insist on a similar certification for EP agents beginning with their basic training.

 An industry-led non-profit would promote excellence in EP training and services for the private sector and establish a basic training course for EP agents. No EP training provider is required to take part in this program or follow the curriculum, but for those that do agents would be eligible to take EP Certification tests on different skill sets such as the use of force, de-escalation techniques, threat assessments, etc.

EP agents would have job experience requirements to qualify for certification no different than the ASIS CPP program but as far as training goes all training providers would use the approved syllabus. 

Option II

 Private sector training providers form consortiums agreeing to use a common lesson plan for the basic training of EP agents. These programs would be submitted for accreditation from states and institutions of high learning. Clients, hiring managers, insurance companies and other vendors would be encouraged to hire or support these EP agents from these programs. Its that simple.

Until then, ISA will continue to align its program with that of the federal and state training academies, institutions of higher learning and regulatory agencies such as the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice.