Setting up, training and maintaining a covert EP and surveillance detection program to provide top-notch security

We regularly work with high net worth individuals, families and their offices. In many ways, the EP and security needs of these prominent families are similar to those of corporations. After all, these high net worth individuals are often founders of highly successful companies, and in that sense share many characteristics with the C-suite principals for whom we typically provide EP.

In important ways, however, families are not the same as corporations, and neither are their protection needs. Parents would rather their children not notice the added security, as that might make them afraid. Affluent families are first and foremost families, and want to do what families do without extra people hovering about nearby. Interestingly, we see the same tendency in more and more corporations, who also are beginning to prefer a more covert protection style for their executives.


The challenge: We were asked to provide a personal protection program for a prominent high net worth individual that integrated work-related EP with 24/7 protection of his family.

In addition to the family’s prominence, they had also received direct threats.

Our work began with an assessment that identified probable risks (hostile groups and individuals) and then matched these against a vulnerability evaluation of the principal and his family as they moved through their lives.

We then designed a protective program to optimize the family’s security, and matched it to the family’s lifestyle and personal preferences. It was here that this case becomes more than “just another EP program” – but in many ways a typical Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services project. The family just wanted to get on with its life as normally as possible, and did not want to be encumbered in any way, or noticed for its protection. In fact, they required that the EP program basically be invisible to family members as well as the press, colleagues and general public – and still highly effective.


The solution: Based on the probable threats and vulnerabilities discovered in our Risk, Threat and Vulnerability Analysis (RTVA) process, we created a security master plan including all preventative and emergency procedures.

This made for an effective protective program that plugs security vulnerabilities while maintaining the principals’ feelings of freedom and privacy – all while being invisible to both the trained and untrained eye.

The solution is based on a combination of covert EP and surveillance detection teams. The covert EP team is tasked with staying “within the bubble,” unnoticed by the family and anyone else, and looking out to identify threats as early as possible and to create time and distance between the threat and principals. The surveillance detection team is tasked with staying “outside the bubble,” unnoticed by anyone at all, and looking in toward the bubble in order to observe who might be observing the principals – and relaying this information to the EP team as the result of data analysis or in real time; and in the instance of an actual hostile act, intercepting the perpetrators as soon as possible.

Once the tasks were defined, and not before, we helped hire suitable professionals for each specialist role. We even field-tested candidates to assess their integrity, ability to make decisions under pressure, and initiative. Team training has been a critical part of the program’s success. After recruitment, the two teams completed two separate, task specific foundation classes on a pass/fail basis.


The result: We are now well into program implementation, and are happy to report that we satisfy all principal and shareholder requirements.

We have created two small yet highly specialized protective details consisting of quality men and women who perform truly covert executive protection and surveillance detection. This results in an effective security system that is unnoticed by the principals and the public eye.

The combination of the covert EP and surveillance detection teams is powerful, and gives us a tactical advantage that is exceptionally strong. With traditional overt EP, persons of interest can identify vulnerabilities in our visible protection in order to circumvent it and get to the target; when we combine covert EP with surveillance detection, the perpetrators don’t see our protection, and our team can seemingly emerge out of thin air to surprise them and stop attacks earlier and farther away.

Quarterly, we deliver enrichment and refresher training for all team members to sharpen existing skills, add new skills and methods as operations require, and continue their professional development.