New EP Instructors Beware, it’s not easy
Originally Published on April 6, 2017
Updated August 9, 2018-Reposted October 28th, 2019
Chief Executive Officer of Independent Security Advisors LLC @ISA
More than a year has come and gone since I wrote this article on EP training and I still receive e-mails and calls from various EP training program instructors who want some advice on what they should be covering at these different schools. So I have pulled this article out of our Linked-In archives and updated it for new instructors. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to reach out via e-mail, or leave a comment on Facebook or Linked-In.
Training Providers: When you decide to become a teacher or a provider of specialized training you really have two critical core concerns, curriculum development and standards of training.
A curriculum that is out of date or filled with fluff will soon be exposed by the students and your reputation and that of your program will suffer.
Equally concerning is a program without real standards that graduate everyone, and hand out certificates for showing up. You are damaging the industry and endangering the clients with the unprepared graduates you’re sending into the field.
Curriculum: Having a curriculum with vetted topics of study that address a specific objective will ensure your students will be prepared after they graduate. Vetting can be done by a committee of fellow instructors, outside subject matter experts and by the feedback or advice of clients themselves.
Objective: Provide Executive Protection To A Corporate Senior Executive.
Identified tasks or skills: CPR; Threat Assessments; Corporate Protocol
Conditions: Provide executive protection to a corporate senior executive at all hours, in and outdoors, in all weather conditions, and in a business or corporate environment in the United States.
Note: One mistake EP training providers make is not addressing the conditions properly and including tasks or skills that are unnecessary. It says in a business environment in the United States, so why are your students in a shoot house with an M4?
Unless your conducting an introductory course where students get a little of this and that, but never have to “master” a task or skill you need to provide targeted, specific training towards an objective, and that addresses the conditions. You can change the objective and conditions to say “escort the executive while visiting a factory or other company facility in a high threat region of the Middle East”. But your program is no longer executive protection, it is now high threat or PSD operations. That is a standalone level of training that takes more time, additional resources, has a much higher safety assessment and staffing requirement.
Warning: Don’t substitute critical classroom study with physical training because you don’t want students “getting bored”. If the students are unengaged you’re the problem, not the material. For example, having your students doing eight hours of close protection formations as opposed to learning how to prepare and use threat assessments.
Yes, PowerPoint presentations alone will kill a class, but get the students out of their seats and doing exercises with the information you just presented. Make it scenario-based and be sure it addresses the objective/conditions of your program.
So if you’re serious about this profession and your responsibilities as a trainer you want to ask yourself these questions;
Standards: If you were with me so far now is where I will lose some of you.
You must use quantifiable and achievable standards of conduct or performance to evaluate and grade the students. As a trainer, you must use standards based on data compiled from research and testing or acceptable demonstrated performance. You don’t build standards based on “war stories”, “well in Iraq we did that in 10 minutes” really? So your objective/conditions are a military officer or diplomat assigned to a combat zone in Iraq?
Objective: Provide Executive Protection To A Corporate Senior Executive With An Elevated Threat Assessment.
Identified tasks or skills: React to an armed gunman
Conditions: React to an armed assailant with an undrawn pistol inside the 21 ft close protection zone of the detail during a public event
Course material: To train your students to meet the objective/conditions you have to cover the 21-foot close protection zone. This was established based on the research and testing of Salt Lake City police trainer Dennis Tueller, and it involves the reaction time of an officer faced with a knife-wielding assailant.
Dennis Tueller determined that the “average” police officer requires 1.5 seconds to draw from a snapped Level II holster, and fire one unsighted round at the charging assailant. His findings are quantifiable because they are based on data compiled from research, testing or acceptable demonstrated performance. The Force Science Research Center at the Minnesota State University-Mankato, reviewed and tested that math and found the fastest officer tested required only 1.31 seconds and the slowest at 2.25 seconds to draw and fire. Unfortunately the fastest “assailant” the FSRC tested covered 21 feet in 1.27 seconds. That’s a .4 second advantage to the assailant.
So, what does this research of a police drill involving an officer drawing his weapon on a charging assailant have to do with our EP drills?
Well, it’s two-fold, one, if we have someone rush our client from outside the 21ft zone the 1.31 – 2.25 seconds to draw and fire may be your standard when testing reaction times. But what if we see someone with a gun in their belt on the rope line? This drill involves the EP agent charging the gunman if they are within the 21ft zone, why?
In the study remember the fastest officer tested required 1.31 seconds and the slowest at 2.25 seconds to draw and fire when rushed. The FSRC found the fastest assailant covered the 21feet in 1.27 seconds, so reverse the roles, the EP agent can rush the gunman in 1.27 seconds and the gunman will still be drawing the weapon. The agent should get there in time to go hands-on and secure the weapon. So when running the drill you give an agent 1.27 seconds to close the 21 ft and secure the weapon. An additional .5 seconds is given for threat identification and .5 seconds for human reaction time. #executiveprotectiontraining
It’s quantifiable, measurable, and achievable, this reaction standard allows us to train and test agents in a realistic way under current operational scenarios and conditions.
Instructors: Lastly, your instructors need to know how to teach. The use of lesson plans, training aids, and proper time management is essential for a good instructor. Because you served as an EP agent does not mean you can teach others. Formal training on adult learning methods and the presentation of training is just the beginning for a good instructor.
In short, teaching others is not easy, programs are living things that need to change and adjust with time, and we need to embrace standards, not shun them because we disagree with them.
Here at ISA, we welcome our peers, competitors, and others to visit any of our programs to audit or observe us at work. We welcome feedback and learn from it. So, we hope to see you in the classroom soon.
Image 1. ISA students prepare a threat assessment and mission plan using intelligence and the advance teams report
Image2. ISA students practice formations and AOP drills
Image 3. Special thanks to Joe Autera – President and CEO, Vehicle Dynamics Institute, Mr. Carl Persons, Former USSS, ISA guest instructor, Beau Jarvis, Former instructor Prince George’s County Police Academy, ISA Instructor.
About the Author:
Matthew Parker is a Dept of Defense executive protection, terrorism, and physical security specialist, with over sixteen years of experience in executive protection & security operations, he and his company actively provide close protection services to diplomats, candidates for office, corporate executives and other “at risk” individuals.
The current Dean of the World Institute of Security Enhancement Protective Studies Department, Mr. Parker is also a professional trainer and certified master instructor with extensive experience as a training program manager and course developer as well as a state-certified law enforcement instructor and subject matter expert in multiple disciplines. He has developed training programs that were awarded law enforcement accreditation in six states, continuing education credits for private security in two states, recognized for college credit by Henley Putnam University and received the first-ever endorsement of an executive protection training program by the International Foundation of Protection Officers.
Mr. Parker presently oversees the ISA Training Division and serves as the course lead and master instructor for the ISA instructors basic course and ten programs of instruction relating to dignitary and executive protection, and has worked with students from the federal, state, & local law enforcement, the US military and other agencies.
Other instructor experience:
Certified instructor with the Vehicle Dynamics Institute; Assistant Professor of Military Science at Virginia Polytechnic University; Acting Director and Lead Instructor Multi-National Command Center-Iraq and Iraqi Government Protective Service Training Course; Instructor Iraqi Army Commando School; Training Assessment Program Manager for Iraqi Security Forces; Senior Instructor/ Training Department Manager Advanced Individual Training Department US Army NBC Warfare Center Ft. Leonard Wood.