Improving the operational readiness of covert protection and surveillance detection teams through a tailor-made field training exercise

Fortunately, one of the key outcomes of effective security is altogether unspectacular: nothing happened to the principal, again.

Yes, flawless logistics and carefully planned procedures always allow the client to maintain top-notch productivity. But precisely because the protection program works as it should, and the principal is kept far from potential threats, the days and weeks can appear uneventful from a security point of view. This, in turn, can lead to complacency, one of the most serious problems of any security team.

A very effective way to keep security professionals from becoming self-satisfied under performers is through training. To keep perishable skills sharp and readiness high, Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services demands that all protective agents undergo ongoing training, and also provides customized training solutions for our clients.


The challenge: Improving the readiness of a successful specialized protection team to deal with unforeseen new threats.

Our client’s principal is a highly prominent CEO who regularly receives overt threats. Intelligence analysts also report an ongoing stream of persons and groups of interest who are classified as potential threats. A frequent traveler, the principal’s peripatetic schedule regularly brings him and the security team to new locations around the world.

Because of the threat level and the principal’s interest in maintaining a lifestyle unencumbered by intrusive security, covert protection and surveillance detection details form an integral part of the protection team.

As part of an ongoing annual training program, the client approached Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services in order to develop a block of training that would keep this busy team at the top of its game, and ensure that the principal’s security would stand up to heightened threats.


The solution: A carefully planned field training exercise that tested the limits of team preparedness.

Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services worked closely with the client’s security manager to design and deliver a field training exercise that integrated preventative and reactive tools and procedures. Based on a risk assessment specific to the principal, the exercise simulated probable critical threats and real-world operations.

The objective was to challenge the details’ monotonous day-to-day routines. Four months prior to the scheduled date, a fictional character was created on the internet via multiple platforms. One month prior to the scheduled date, the detail members were provided limited information regarding the principal, and tasked with conducting protective intelligence in order to predict the principal’s stops and route. An understanding of information any hostile may have enables the protective team to adjust their risk assessment and procedures accordingly.

A professional team trained in both covert protection and surveillance played the role of the hostile force. The hostile team was provided the same amount of information that the protective detail received, and were not privy to any additional information.

The exercise spanned a distance of over 500 miles, with three cities and multiple stops in between.


The result: A milestone in team readiness, and greatly improved understanding of the anatomy of threats.

Significantly prior to the hostile force having enough information to attempt an attack on the principal, the surveillance detection detail had already identified all hostile role players and relayed this information to the entire covert protection detail.

On the day of the simulated attack, however, all hostile role players completely changed their appearance and were unrecognizable by the protection details. Nonetheless, they were not aware of multiple covert protection agents in their close vicinity, and the protective team stopped the attack effectively.

The three-day field exercise was a success for all involved, pushing the protective team’s field skills, tactical understanding and operational stamina to the limit while simulating a realistic scenario – and increasing their readiness to protect the real principal.