5 Disciplines For The 5th Profession

What does it take to be a Bodyguard?” I get this question a lot, as do many of my colleagues. Seemingly an easy question to answer; tell me what I need to do in order to be an exceptional provider of close protection, is not really something that can be answered with “go to this school” or “do this thing.”  But still, the question remains. So, with it in mind, here is what the (top of mind) key focus areas are for getting into and excelling in this amazing industry….or period for that fact:


To be Ronin is to be committed to a life of learning. Not just focusing on the martial aspects of the job, either. Embracing problem solving, emotional intelligence and logistics planning is as important as the martial skills we tend to gravitate to. This does not, however, remove us from our responsibility towards maintaining certain physical and tactical abilities (such as fitness, basic lifesaving, weapons and defensive tactics).

This idea of acumen also creates a desire to know more. Looking at the industries or clientele we support, it’s important to have an understanding and a broad sense of “what they are about” in order for us to help present salient courses of action in planning a detail.

After all, what is advance work other than a constant reworking and refinement of our operational planning process? A lifetime of education only enriches this.



In all things, be ready. Yuzan’s rendition of “The Code of the Samurai,” surmises that you should not leave the house with your affairs in disarray. Being ready to receive and take that first detail means you need to have things aligned. Passport, appropriate clothes, gear, etc. You can’t be at a ready state if your home and personal and/or professional affairs are a wreck.


Do you know where your opportunities are? Part of preparation is understanding and having the discipline to get in, stay in and maintain networks. I’m not talking about your social club, or circle of buddies, but the professional networks, often associated with the industry and related organizations.


You can’t quit, if you want it. A career as an agent, let alone full-time or internationally, is a hard thing to break into. It may not happen in a week or six months or a year. You need to be prepared to wait it out and keep at your strategy; it will happen. The other half of this is being prepared for the (however long) wait. You may have to start as an event security agent or working the door in order to maintain the bills while seeking work as a CP. Do it with pride, professionalism and respect for the lineage of the industry.


The hard work you do is probably (at least somewhat) due to other people’s assistance and belief in you; acknowledge them, daily! Being a BG also requires that you deal and interact with people of all ilk and position. Treat all with respect and patience.

Accept there may be stumbles and even failure in this course you’re on. Allow yourself the moment of disappointment and then ask “What did I learn from that?” If your answer is “nothing” then I suggest you may need to rethink. Failure is not the end, it’s merely a chance to rethink your path and the way you’re walking it. Meet objectives with alacrity and take them on. If they knock you down, get up and laugh and say “Is that all you got?!?!?”


Keeping the above in mind, I’m reminded of Bruce Lee’s famous, “Be Water My Friend” statement. Understand and look at opportunities with a wide eyed humbleness for your time is coming. Your actions will define you and your comments may confine you. Ensure you continue to have your “a-ha” moments of personal greatness. Get that detail, look in the mirror and say “well done!” More importantly, believe it!!! Can-do attitudes are hard to maintain. Do it anyway. Be humble but maintain confidence in yourself.


I know you wanted a checklist. There is none. Getting and staying in requires a state of ready that you need to maintain. If you’re focused on it and working towards it, it will come. When you’re thinking of buying a car, say a blue Jeep, you start seeing Jeeps everywhere; particularly blue ones! It’s because you have engaged your subconscious. Do that here. Take the ideas laid out above and truly immerse yourself into looking for and getting into this career path. You won’t be disappointed.


Intelligence Analyst – Five things your boss is thinking but may not tell you: TWO is surprising and FIVE is vital

1 – I’m also a critical thinker, I just may not use the same vocabulary as you

Hey, I may not use the same language, but I’m also analytical (I may just not realize it).  By doing operational analysis, I’m developing courses of action (COAs) and making mission assumptions based on the facts in front of me.  When on an operation or in an emergency, I’ll be using what I have gathered and developing COAs based on pre-thought scenarios and trends that are manifesting.  Just like you, I’m a critical thinker; please, remind me of that from time-to-time.

2 – I need you to help me, help you, to help me

Your request for information (RFI) process may not be the same one that I am familiar with.  I also may not fully understand how to ask for what I need or am unsure of what you can do.  Therefore, I need you to take the lead in this dance .  Show me what you’ve got and suggest we walk through the operations plan (OPLAN) together.  When we do that, listen and ask questions.  As an operator, I may not care about the form you need filled out, I do need your insight and keen eye towards pattern analysis to see something I don’t.  Honestly, I need you to be my partner and educate to develop me.

3 – Sometimes, I need you to slow down

You can get excited, I get it (and I like that about you). But, if I’m excited and your excited and we are all excited….well, I need you to be the one to slow down and make sure we are paying attention to detail and managing the little things which always come up in the form of Mr. Murphy – and his damnable law.  Offer up some advice, ensure you stuff is double-checked before you hit send and be that calming voice .  I’ve got a lot going on and sometimes I may just need to see someone being outwardly steadfast.

4 – You don’t have a crystal ball, I know that… let me know what you think anyway

I get it, you’re not 100%.  Guess what, neither am I.  I don’t need you to be all knowing (although, secretly I wish you were). I just need you to give me the best understanding you have and say the same.  If it doesn’t go down the way you describe, I may get cranky…but I don’t blame you (I’m probably blaming myself).  No one expects the black swan’s arrival, but I need you to tell me when you think conditions may be right for impending issues.

Finally, and most important…

5 – I trust you

From the mundane to the insane, you’re my go-to! I may always not say it, but you are.  I have a healthy trust in your abilities.  This is why I ask you to brief first, set the tone and put a ‘realistic’ filter on what’s happening.  The interwebs opened up a whole new meaning to the concept of ‘breaking news ‘and I can’t always be sure they affect our situation.  I know you have my back, you understand my needs, and will tell me what’s important in the din.  Because you’re intelligent, professional, curious and thoughtful… I trust you.

this is dedicated to the my favorite analysts…

A Quick Thought For Leaders Trying to Be Strategic…

Educate To Develop” and “Delegate To Develop“-  two principals to embrace in your efforts to be more strategic.

Give guidance, direction and intent.  Fight the urge to do it all.  Remember, empowering five people to do five things is just as important (if not more) as one person who tries to micro-manage everything.


WP_20140724_19_19_31_Raw 2

Take time to explain your objectives

How To L.E.A.D!

Here are four quick thoughts to help you, Oh Leader, think and set your course…after all, leaders need to L-E-A-D!

L – Light the Path

Set the course. Stop and think about where your organization is going. What does your group/team look like in 12 months, 18 months or 24 months? As much as you want and like to be in the trenches with the troops (c’mon… I know you do) your job is to set tone and expectation. Be honest with yourself, are you doing this? If not…. Right now write down…”In 12 months, my group will be [fill in your vision here]!” Make a few notes on what projects or things might be needed to get you there and you have mini strategy session going down…well done!

E – Educate to Develop

Guess what leader… people know you have what it takes. Teach someone else and watch them figure it out. Building your leaders, builds your bench and builds resiliency. Sometimes it sucks…you want to be that tactical person who is seen as “checking all those blocks.” Leaders however, should be thinking three dimensionally.   Teach your crew to cook, don’t just hand them a lunchable.

A – Accept Your Place

Being in charge…it “aint so easy.” While fulfilling, it can be lonely and tough. Not everything you do will be understood, initially accepted or liked; do it anyway. Sometimes your folks may not appreciate you; care anyway. Be the person you want them to be. As the boss, you need to know when to back away and let the team be the team. You’re needed, but your presence may not always be required. Get over yourself and get on with it. Being the leader is best judged in those moments when honor, candor and hard decisions need to happen. Be the person you envision.

D – Delegate to Develop

Once you have you have sorted some of the above, it’s time to pass out some work. Give your team some assignments. Make sure they understand the task condition, standards and intent. Encourage them to ask clarifying questions; be patient and thoughtful in this. Once you have done this “GET OUT OF THEIR WAY” and give them a chance to sort it out. Trust me….if you have picked the right folks and empowered them… they will come to you if they need some help. Guide your group in their quest. Likely, you’re finding yourself in this journey, too.

Thoughtful Leadership is what's required for today's manager

Thoughtful Leadership is what’s required

Security As A 4G Environment

For many years security operated in a 3G environment. This concept of ‘Guns, Gates and Guards’ were the three legs of the chair on which physical security sat. Perched and monitoring for nefarious activity, practitioners surveyed the landscape with a keen eye on all they could see or physically interact with. This traditional model was best suited to an operational schema that focused on managing threats that manifested themselves in “traditional” fashions; threats existing in a physical space could be comprehended and interacted with accordingly. Subsequently, Security Intelligence reporting was focused on traveler threat briefs, kidnap, crime statistics and extremist activities.

In the periphery, the concept of what we now call “cyber-security” was evolving and growing in both risk, response and relevance. Hackers and IT-based attacks, while present, were generally less prevalent and sequestered to the inside pages of the newspaper. In 2007 the world watched as Estonian financial and government sectors were ravaged by a cyber-onslaught which was deemed to be the work of Russian hackers. Subsequently, MacAfee, the computer security firm, indicates there was new malware introduced every 15 minutes in the year 2010. By 2013, new bots, bugs, rootkits, spyware, Trojan horses, etc., were being introduced every second. Growing parallel to this threat vector was an exponential increase in available data and information made possible by the spread of access to the internet and migration into the cloud. This shift has been both an intensely exciting and frightening time for individuals, corporations and nation states.

Corporate Security organizations are evolving, too. Recognizing that each threat is no longer exclusive, IT and physical security sectors are aligning, intersecting and interacting in a 4G world; ‘Guns, Gates, Guards AND Gigabytes.’ Security Intelligence monitoring and reporting has also matured in the 4G environment. Insider threats, phishing and hacktivism now share the same rail of reporting that was traditionally held by geopolitics, transnational crime and terrorism.

Companies abilities to track, monitor and mitigate threats will also continue. Efforts within information tracking continue in fusion as we open news seats at the sharing table in order to do our part to keep people, facilities and intellectual property safe within this ever growing reality.

What will the 5G environment resemble? Only William Gibson knows:

We have no future because our present is too volatile. We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment’s scenarios. Pattern recognition.”

~ William Gibson


Bodyguards and Functional Fitness: Why practitioners should care about how they move

Let’s step away from the strategic for a moment and discuss a base level issue which affects everything we do… health and fitness. Realizing many may have already decided to “swipe left” and move on to another spot, I’m asking you give 3-5 minutes.


“In all forms of strategy, it is necessary to maintain the combat stance in everyday life and to make your everyday stance your combat stance. You must research this well.” – Miyamoto Musashi

When you boil it down, practitioners lives’ can be pretty mundane with occasional boughs of adrenal rushes brought on by unknown risks or complex problems manifesting in the most unexpected moments. Not ever having our heart rate up around the 175 beats and trying to perform means in an actual situation our cognizant senses will begin to give way to basic muscle movements. We are told, from day one to “keep it on a swivel” and to cherish mottos like the US Coast Guard’s, “semper paratus.” A bodyguard is made to; plan-and-wait-and-go-and-wait-and-go-really-fast-and-wait, well you get the picture. Between the waiting and going, are periods of foraging for food and trying to find some moments to either energize or get some rest. Easily sustainable for a short amount of time, but over the long haul, the toll is felt. Keeping your health up often becomes a, “if I get to it.”

What do we mean…fitness?

When I say fitness, I’m not talking about working out to star in the next Expendables, here. What we need to understand is training and health for the daily rigors of life and the job or a functional fitness. The former thought is both untenable and not germane to the job of protection.

So, with this idea of a functional fitness what is it that Close Protection Agents do on a routine basis? Top of mind – but not limited to is:

  • Stand (Halls and walls people!!)
  • Sit (Surveillance Detection anyone?!?!?!)
  • Lift/Hold (Heavy-ish) Objects (ever put your buddies gear or a starlet’s luggage in the rig)
  • Sprint (with a principal’s briefcase or managing the designate through a spontaneous riot)
  • Jog (anyone who has ever worked with a principal who is a runner just groaned)

While I’m certain we could come up with many more basic ideas of what we do (some could be specific to your particular detail) we can agree these are basic elements that make up or job ~ hell, they look like a lot of other jobs, too.


Make it an adventure

Several years ago, my team performed an experiment; we decided it was time to “re-learn” how to work out. Many in the group being former military, the observation being what instruction we received may have been arguably good for [soldier X] it was not necessarily a good for our jobs in close protection, ages (yup, said it) and overall lifestyle. As a result, we arranged training through a local CrossFit gym (aka a box) to learn/re-learn how to do functional lifting, cardiovascular and functional routines. For the next three months, the majority of the team went to a weekly class worked out between the instructor and our team. While there was CrossFit type activities involved, we were clear our goal was on learning the right way as opposed to the rigorous workout of the day (WODs) associated with this style of fitness.  Over the weeks and as we progressed, this idea of functional fitness really became highlighted as the way forward.

It’s about getting strong, durable, and relentless in simple, old-school ways that a man can train, test, and measure.” – Daniel Duane “Everything You Know About Fitness Is A Lie

Put the F(itness) in Function

Putting together a personal program which supports the primary aspects of our job is key. Most would suggest you always start with a baseline that begins with working with your doctor to understand where you stand. I’ll leave that to you and hope you choose a medical practitioner who understands your job and is a forward leaner when it comes to things like fitness and nutrition. Let’s assume you do this already; how do you get towards a routine that supports the function?

Our above list suggests we need to have a program that allows us to lift, pull, and perform at a decent cardiovascular level and sprint. Basically, a routine that encompasses:

  • [Weight] Lifting / Strength Training (Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength)
  • Plyometric Activities (Jump around…Jump around!!!)
  • Stretching (Namaste, people!)
  • Cardiovascular (the Slog)
  • High Intensity Training (intervals, sprints, breathing hard activities)

Make your routine about these things. I would suggest if you’re heading into the gym and the only thing you’re pumping out is a massive chest and biceps, try getting on a treadmill and running for 45 minutes – better yet – go outside! Conversely, if you are the marathoner… get into the gym and focus on some deadlifts or kettlebell swings. And both of you should incorporate some pull-ups, step ups or box-jumps.

My point being, examine where you are and what you’re trying to get out of it for the job. Take your ego out of the picture and look at it from a strict “I need to do ____ to do this job.”

While I remain a fan of the spirit of CrossFit, it’s important to note there should be a line (albeit thin) between the two terms. CrossFit has grown into a pretty massive industry. And while I think these athletes are amazing, functional fitness remains a very base level philosophy to me, wherein the executive protection industry is concerned. They are mutual, but I do not believe the two are exclusively so. In fact many functional type fitness efforts like movnat (Moving Naturally) or Tactfit (Tactical Fitness) are also beginning to make their presence known as well as the Phenom that has become Tony Horton’s P90X workouts.

Other Factors worth exploring

Eating Habit

This is probably the most important factor in maintaining your health (especially on the road). So many things written on this subject. Vinnie Tortorich’s idea of “No Sugar No Grain” is a good place to start if you have nowhere else to go. Another concept worth exploring is the free ranging “Paleo movement wherein eating “real foods” and not shirking off of protein is concerned. While I am not a doctor nor a dietician we all know in the middle of the night you sometimes have limited choices to refuel and grab three hours of sleep before you have to get back at it.  Honestly, if we know this is going to happen, we should plan for it. In the end, a little discipline and moderation won’t fail you.


A rapidly growing trend it reminds us that agents are athletes in our own right. While we aren’t going to making jump shots or running down the guy making a play for home plate, it doesn’t take a lot to imagine scenarios in which we must be able to move in a non-linear fashion. This requires we are limber and ready to explode those muscles. Also, we need the ability to keep moving after the moment and adrenaline have pumped out of our system while dealing with the rigors that the halls-and-walls routine takes on our bodies.


You’re laughing. I know it. More and more this idea of, as Tony Schwartz coined in The Power of Full Engagement, “energy management.” Your plan should include getting some down time. Even during a long detail, understanding when to shut off all the non-essentials to the detail and focus on relaxing and re-energizing is as important (maybe more so) than working out. Lack of sleep (over a period of time) does all kinds of things to you and has a distinct negative effect to you, tactically. Any fans of LTC Dave Grossman’s “On Combat” will agree.

We’re not meant to run at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. Science tells us we’re at our best when we move rhythmically between spending and renewing energy — a reality that companies must embrace to fuel sustainable engagement and high performance.”– Tony Schwartz – The Energy Project

“Opera Non Verba”

This piece isn’t to say “what specifically to do”, but more about you getting outside of yourself. The most important factor is the point we take stock in where we are and what the endstate is for you and your team. It should be part of your operational and business plan… your routine.

Buds working out

Find someone to hold you accountable

You don’t need three hours a day in the gym to be functionally fit, either. Most of us are lucky to get 30 – 40 minutes of training. Make that count. Remember – sweat doesn’t equate results…results, results do. Focus on what you’re building and then, sustaining it. Here is my week. I often pair up with a teammate or a buddy for the interval training, too:

  • Monday – HIT Interval training (could be P90X3 or a WOD)
  • Tuesday – 3 to 5 mile run
  • Wednesday – Weight Training Circuit
  • Thursday – Interval Training/WOD
  • Friday –  HIT Interval Run and stretching or yoga
  • Saturday – Weight Circuit
  • Sunday – Walk or easy 3-5 mile jog (this is more about relaxation than anything)

Remember, we are talking about being a professional practitioner, if that bleeds into our personal life and makes us a better, parent, spouse, friend, etc. all the better. Please don’t fall into this trap of “I need to get fit to….get fit” either. The naked truth is this; bad guys don’t give a damned about your ego. In fact, they are counting on it to get in your way. That way, the day you need that extra seconds of speed… it will fail you.

We pride ourselves in honor and an uncanny ability to plan and maintain discipline. Shouldn’t our own health have the same protocols?

Keep your head down and get moving.

Intelligence and Close Protection: A Practitioner’s Primer

When Industry giants ask you to write a piece…you only have one answer; yes!

Recently, Tony Scotti (of the International Security Driver Association) asked for an article. So, I co-authored an article with the Intelligence Community’s Kristin Lenardson Schwomeyer on Protective Intelligence from a practitioner’s POV. The experience was awesome and I learned a lot in terms of sharing and collaboration on the subject from two separate industries (EP and Intelligence). I’m pleased with the outcome and hope people find it useful.

Please enjoy and let me know your thoughts!


Here is the story, for non-ISDA members:

Intelligence and Close Protection: A Practitioner’s Primer

The article is the personal opinions of the authors and not their employers.

The notion of ‘intelligence’ covers a broad spectrum of concepts.  It conjures an array of images from military operations utilizing drones to attack a predetermined target, to clandestine spies meeting with sources in a dark corner of a bar in Prague, or computers utilizing algorithms to monitor big data.  It is also an essential part and beginning of any protective detail’s advance work.  How you find and use it can help set the operation towards success.


The word intelligence itself has sadly become an almost meaningless buzzword in today’s society.  Although there are a lot of different types and definitions of intelligence, the easiest way is to think of intelligence as information.  In this context you can utilize it for a strategic or tactical need and this how it is best suited to support a Close Protection detail.  In this manner, it is generally referred to as Protective Intelligence (PI).

From someone who is not a career Intelligence Analyst, doing all this may sound really complicated, but it’s actually much easier than you think.  For the most part, many Executive Protection (EP) professionals already do this.  However, here are a few ‘suggestions’ for conducting your PI efforts more efficiently.


What makes it Intel?

Why do we keep referencing, ‘information in context’ as intelligence?  There is so much information floating around and it is easy to quickly use a search engine (like Google or Bing) to find almost any information you may need for your advance.  Things like street maps, building schematics, and background information about your location start to create a good working file before you even put “boots on the ground.”

This is all tactical information to assist with your planning.  Strategically, you can search for information on your principal’s background; which may include, but is not limited to, negative information about this person, their company or business interests which could affect how you assess the needs of your detail.

The real issue is this; sometimes there is too much information online.  Putting it ‘in context’ means you discern what information is actually important to your principal and the detail; this turns the information into intelligence.

Does it matter if you find an article from three years ago about your principal working for a company conducting animal testing?  It does, if while researching you identify a potential PETA protest at the event your designate is attending.  It may not be pertinent if there doesn’t appear to be any prospective animal rights protest activity at the event.  Again the context of the information is what makes it strategic intelligence that you would then have to mitigate operationally.

Stop Check

Always think critically about what’s called “all-source” information.  Unfortunately, just because it is easily accessed does not mean it is accurate.  Be wary of the information you are consuming because if the information is incorrect or unreliable, your intelligence will be off.  An easy example:

A popular TV commercial says 4 out of 5 dentists prefer a certain toothpaste brand. Sound legitimate?

The question you should ask is how many dentists they asked, 5, 50 or 50,000.  The difference in the number of sampled data sets can be a huge discrepancy in the actual results.

The second question that should be is asked is what is the background of the 4 dentists who picked this toothpaste brand.  Are they being sponsored by the company?  Did they choose the toothpaste due to the effectiveness of cleaning someone’s teeth or did it just taste better than the other brands?

Yes, this is a really simplified example, but it shows how a seemingly legitimate statement can be skewed because a “so-called expert endorsed the brand.”  The moral of the story being – Vet the authenticity and accuracy of the information you are researching via multiple sources.


Know what sources are available.  The Internet makes it so easy to find information, however, that does not mean you are finding accurate information or using the best material.  Often, US media sources can (more often than not) be slanted, jaded or just plain ridiculous due to the sensationalist approach. A quick exercise:

Read an international news story from a US news source, and then read a story from another country’s media, like say the BBC.  This will quickly open your eyes to the discrepancies in mainstream US media.

Social media is one of the fastest communication mediums in our society.  Among other things, it provides a really good strategic overview of public perception.  Social media can also be utilized for tactical PI.  An example of this was seen during a recent protest where many activists were live streaming and utilizing Twitter to post the ongoing activities on social media.  By reviewing this free and open source information, one could make tactical decisions regarding how ongoing risks may need to be mitigated while in the middle of a detail.

Besides the Internet, there are a lot of really great free sources available to a close protection professional.  For example, government entities, like the Department of State, Overseas Advisory Council (OSAC), will provide geopolitical security risk intelligence.  However, this is still considered single source information.  Remember, PI should be a combination of several different sources.

Another great source of PI includes other EP professionals or trusted contacts.  Human intelligence is a very reliable form of information.  In most situations, other close protection professionals have had to work similar details, so your peer network can be a wealth of information.

If, by doing your open source research it is determined the threat level (or situation) is complicated enough, a number of really good paid vendor intelligence groups exist.  These groups provide services that can range from fairly economical to ridiculously expensive.  Additionally, they can cover everything from social media monitoring, geo-tracking, international risk intelligence, and so on.  If you find the need for an intelligence professional, try to be clear on what you want prior to engaging.

In the end, protective intelligence starts with you and the mission.  Determine your end state and work to fill the intelligence gaps.  Think critically and vet your sources.  Don’t let the process overwhelm you or the team because any plan will change the moment you hit the ground and so will the intelligence.

Good luck and keep your head down!

Charles Randolph

Has over 19 years  of experience working in the Executive Security industry and over 20 years as a military officer. For a major Fortune 500 company Charles plans the strategic development and tactical deployment for a global security team. He also oversees a global sized [open source] intelligence unit.  He has deployed and continues to serve, in a reserve capacity, for the military.

His specialties are: Strategic Planning, Executive Security Leadership, Intelligence Management, Special Investigations, Surveillance Operations, Joint Operational Planning, Bodyguard Tactics, PSD, Budget Planning, Military Leadership, Tactical Deployment, Small Unit Operations, Program Development, Mentoring, Presentation and Speaking.

Kristin Lenardson Schwomeyer

Working for a major health insurance provider Kristin develops the Threat Intelligence Program to support core Corporate Security functions and provides critical incident support with on-call availability to support global security operations.

She  monitors and analyzes intelligence from security vendors, government partners and public source media to proactively identify and deliver threat assessments to the company. She created the Global Security Travel Program with key internal partners. Actively monitors and assesses risks and threats to international travelers, assets and facilities.

Prior to her present position she worked for the FBI with a duty assignment as a US, United Kingdom and Australian Military Liaison in Balad, Iraq, as part of the FBI Counterterrorism Program in 2006 and 2007.