Executive protection (EP), also known as close personal protection or bodyguarding, refers to security measures taken to ensure the safety of VIPs or other individuals who may be exposed to elevated personal risk because of their employment, celebrity status, wealth, associations or geographical location.
Executive protection is its own highly specialized field within the private security industry. Elite executive protection professionals (aka "agents") will have specialized training in executive protection, driving, first aid, and marksmanship.
The term executive protection was coined in the 1970s by the United States Secret Service when they created the Executive Protection Service to guard visiting foreign dignitaries.
In the United States, executive protection services are regulated at the state level and in most cases require licensing, insurance, training and a separate concealed carry permit. Also, The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 (aka HR-218) does not serve as a license for off-duty law enforcement officers to provide executive protective services. Hiring unlicensed, uninsured protection services, including those offered by off-duty law enforcement officers, creates direct liability for the client.
Any bona fide executive protection firm should be able to provide a prospective client with their:
- State-issued Corporate Business License (HR-218 or status as a retired law enforcement officer DOES NOT replace this document)
- State-issued registration to provide protective services (HR-218 or status as a retired law enforcement officer DOES NOT replace this document)
- Copy of current liability insurance
- Personal certificates of initial and on-going executive protection training for each agent
- State-issued registrations to provide protective services for each agent
- State-issued registrations allowing the agent to carry weapons for professional use. (HR-218 or status as a retired law enforcement officer DOES NOT replace this document)
- State-issued concealed carry permits for each agent (HR-218 may replace this document)
Protective measures may include home security systems, bodyguards, armored vehicles and vehicle scramble plans, mail screening, private jet travel, background checks for other employees, and other precautions. Executive protection may also provide security for immediate and/or extended family members to prevent kidnapping and extortion.
An executive protection team may have agents performing in a variety of roles to better protection the principal, including:
- Detail Leader
- Assistant Detail Leader (Detail Manager)
- Tactical Commander
- Motorcade Lead
- Advance Lead
- Mobile Agent
- Static Agent
- Protective Intelligence Agent
Executive protection occasionally becomes an item of general public interest, usually when it fails. For example:
- On July 19, 2011, Rupert Murdoch was pied in London during a Parliamentary hearing.
- In 1998, Microsoft founder Bill Gates was pied in Belgium.
- Zelvin, Elizabeth (2011-11-19). "Executive Protection". New York: Management Resources Ltd.
- June, Dale, Introduction to Executive Protection, page 86.
- Duffy, Daintry. "The Six Things You Need to Know About Executive Protection". CSOonline, April 1, 2005. Accessed July 11, 2009.
Further reading 
- June, Dale (1998). Introduction to Executive Protection. Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press. 978-0849381287.
- Oatman, Robert (2006). Executive Protection: New Solutions for a New Era. Baltimore, Md.: Noble House. 978-1561679423.
- Braunig, Martha J. (1993). The Executive Protection Bible. Aspen, Colo.: ESI Education Development Corp. ISBN 978-0-9640627-0-2.
- De Becker, Gavin (2002). Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety, and Security in a Time of Terrorism. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-08596-0.
- De Becker, Gavin (1997). The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-23502-0.
- De Becker, Gavin, Thomas A. Taylor, and Jeff Marquart (2008). Just 2 Seconds: Using Time and Space to Defeat Assassins: with a Compendium of Attacks against at-Risk Persons. Studio City, Calif.: Gavin de Becker Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence. ISBN 978-0-615-21447-4. [www.just2seconds.org]
- De Becker, Gavin (1999). Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane). New York: Dial Press. ISBN 978-0-385-33309-2.
- Karlin, Susan (November 8, 2007). "Covering Your Assets". Condé Nast Portfolio.
- Karlin, Susan (November 8, 2007). "How to Choose an Executive Protection Firm". Condé Nast Portfolio.
- Karlin, Susan (December 9, 2007). "The Secret Weapon of the Stars". ISRAEL21c.
- Kobetz, Richard W., ed. (1991). Providing Executive Protection. Berryville, Va.: Executive Protection Institute. ISBN 978-0-9628411-0-1, ISBN 978-0-9628411-1-8.
- Kobetz, Richard W., ed. (1994). Providing Executive Protection, Volume II. Berryville, Va.: Executive Protection Institute. ISBN 978-0-9628411-1-8.
- Oatman, Robert L. (1997). The Art of Executive Protection. Baltimore, Md.: Noble House. ISBN 978-1-56167-384-1.
- ExecutiveProtectionNews.com – News and commentary on the executive protection industry.
- ExecutiveProtection.pro – Executive Protection Association is an international network of licensed executive protection agents.
- How To Hire A Bodyguard
- Celebrity Security News – Website reporting on celebrity security incidents, often demonstrating the celebrity's need for protective services.
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