Pretenders Beware, Don’t Overplay Your Hand.

“I’m not an expert, but I did stay in a holiday inn last night”

 In the security industry like all industries, there are a few visionaries. For instance, those who predicted the video doorbell would become a staple of home security measures, or that the computer in your vehicle could be hacked and used to track your movements.

 Now there are others who based on experience and research predicted an increase of the violence directed at houses of worship, and some were sounding the alarm at the risks of workplace violence long before law enforcement and the private sector started to even think about intervention programs.

 But then there are the others, the “Johnny come lately” who never uttered a word on anything, but all of a sudden they are running around posting articles and doing podcasts and representing themselves as “experts” on the hottest topics of today. Best SUV, ask them, best body armor, well, of course, they know all about it, applications for your smartphone, of course, they are developers. 

 Take for instance the use of, or threats from drones. We started using RC Models (drones) for site surveys, route reconnaissance and site security in 2011. These first generation systems had no range, poor flight times and questionable communication links that failed as often as they worked. But that “eye in the sky” was useful and the money we spent was generally covered later.

 In 2016 we introduced the use of drones in some of our executive protection and terrorism awareness training courses, and there were the comments from the “experts” about wasting time on a “fad”, but we moved forward and in 2017 joined with the North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy to standardize and expand our optional drone training module.

 In May 2017 ISA conducted terrorism awareness and surveillance detection training for the Veterans Administration in California and drones played a prominent role in that training. Here was a VA hospital and campus with full integration of drones into their physical security operations and yet a few miles away from the hospital was a massive industrial and commercial location with nothing comparable. We thought this needed to change. 

 So in September 2017, we posted our first article about drones on Linked-In, followed by a couple more highlighting their use and the threats they posed to physical security in general and the EP mission specifically. The response to the articles was lukewarm, but we did notice a growing number of drone pilots, manufactures and counter-drone system designers friend us and open a dialog on “the future of drones”.

 Then on August 4th, 2018 two drones were used in a clumsy attempt to assassinate the President of Venezuela. Of course, this was months after ISIS was using drones to drop explosives on troops in Iraq and a good year after someone mounted a pistol on a drone and put the video up on YouTube.

 So with drones now front in center in the media, we now have “legacy” security experts doing interviews and podcasts on drones, and it’s not that I mind they are posers who now just spew out facts from someone else’s research or from an FBI report, no, what bothers me is they try to reinvent themselves and present their services as “cutting edge” when they are still just “Legacy” and doing the same old things the same old ways. Its bad for the industry in general, bad for the clients, and It’s sad really.  

 Now the point of this diatribe, if you are looking for executive protection or security services and consulting and you want to be sure the “expert” or company you hire understands the threats of today and tomorrow, do your due diligence, look for published articles, books or interviews that date back a few years, not weeks or months.

 Did the author publish an original work or regurgitate someone else’s work. Ask them, “What have you done lately” How are your procedures or methods different or how have they changed given the new threats from drones, mobile IT intrusion, cloud intrusions, long-range cameras, microelectronics, burst transmitters, etc. etc. etc.

 Are they still using old techniques and methods for keeping you safe? Do they even know how to use social media to track mentions? Do they use false social media and other methods to keep your private daily routine and travels, well private and routine? Can they explain what a multi-band frequency disruption system is and is it legal to use?

 How do they stop a drone from peeping in your window or crashing into your windshield at 70 MPH? Can they tell you what is the next step in the evolution of these threats? No, didn’t think so. So look carefully at their body of work and please hire carefully.

About the author:

Matthew Parker is the chief executive officer of Independent Security Advisors LLC and Director of EPTRAINING.US the ISA training division.

 A Dept of Defense protection and terrorism specialist, Mr. Parker’s experience with UAVs started in 1993 after graduating from the US Army Shoulder Fired Anti-Aircraft Missile Specialist Course.  The threats in 1993 among other things were initially helicopters and aircraft converted to remote piloting systems by terror groups to be flown into military installations. These early UAVs became a more serious threat for terrorism specialists with the development of smaller tactical reconnaissance drones in the mid-1990s.

Today Mr. Parker continues his work with drones from within the dignitary and executive protection and physical security field in both operations and training. He has written several articles on the use or threats from drones and written a white paper on the threats of drones to the civilian airline industry.