20 Tips for Close Protection Specialists | GDBA

I have trained Executive Protection professionals at the highest levels for decades. Consequently, I am often asked about the “Dos and Don’ts” guiding elite protectors. My answer always includes GDBA’s, “The Way of a Superior Protector.” This quick checklist offers hard lessons forged over the last forty years, where GDBA has provided over 14 million hours of protective service to some of the world’s most at-risk individuals, families, and enterprises.

Of course, this list is not all encompassing. These tips, however, are an excellent guide for protectors who seek self-improvement. If we could get all “Protectors” in the industry to just observe #8, we would be better off for it.

Thanks for reading.

-James Hamilton


1. Stays in the NOW – not distracted by past or future events

2. Is always prepared for an immediate and unexpected departure (cars at the ready, available foot-route, clear access to exits).

3. Does not eat or drink anything in public view, and NEVER eats with principals and/or principal staff, even if invited repeatedly. Declines artfully and honestly (“Being at the same table with you would give me poor positioning for my mission, would not help you, and is absolutely prohibited by my firm. You are gracious, and I am grateful – and also committed to my mission.”)

4. Maintains physical and mental readiness.

5. Does not chew gum while working.

6. Maintains awareness of the environment at all times, even when talking with someone (does not need to look at that person).

7. Has zero communication with reporters unless it is needed for a logistical benefit to the protectee, and approved by a team leader; otherwise, a superior protector doesn’t say a word.

8. Keeps coat unbuttoned for quick access to gear at all times.

9. Limits radio communication to information that serves the mission.

10. Does not stand close to other protectors while posted.

11. Drives with noticeable slowness while in public view and when media are present.

12. Keeps head up and eyes working during radio communication.

13. Doesn’t sit, lean or slouch, and keeps hands at the ready.

14. Is aware at all times that he/she might be filmed/recorded.

15. Keeps Operations Order readily available.

16. Constantly re-evaluates physical position, and improves position if possible.

17. Keeps extra radio battery and cell phone fully charged.

18. Maintains excellent personal appearance (gear covered, clothes clean and pressed, shoes polished, hair groomed, conservative clothing, clean-shaven, no cologne or scented products).

19. Keeps appropriate nourishment on hand.

20. Doesn’t wear sunglasses unless otherwise unable to see (e.g., posted in direct sunlight).

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