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10 Questions Deep: How to Assess your Corporate Security and Executive Protection Teams

How can Chief Security Officer’s asses their security teams? James Hamilton, GDBA's VP of Protection Strategies, offers a great solution -- go "10 Questions Deep."

Over the years, I have developed a quick process for assessing a security team. When Chief Security Officers who protect some of the world’s most influential people, corporations, and enterprises request an assessment of their security teams, my first step is to always observe and listen. Right after that, I ask questions; specifically, 10 Questions for every aspect of their security team’s mission. I call it going “10 Questions Deep.”

I say “Deep” because the specificity of their answers determines my assessment. In other words, do they “go deep” with their answers and provide real-world examples and procedures – or do they just deliver general and unspecific responses?

There is an old performance maxim in law enforcement and the military that underpins my 10 Questions Deep approach: “Don’t tell me, show me.” Here is an example:

Medical Emergencies

While everyone knows protectors must prepare for emergencies, many do not realize most emergencies are medically related.

To test an EP team’s Medical Preparation, I typically ask protectors these questions:

  1. Current Certifications: Are all EP members currently certified in CPR, First Aid, and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) operation? Are the certification expiration dates kept in a retrievable database?
  2. Medical Supplies: Do EP personnel carry medical supplies on their person during coverage: latex gloves, CPR mask, tourniquet?
  3. Medical Bag: Does the EP team have a medical bag in close proximity to the protectee: vehicle trunk, office, or command post? Are team members trained to use all medical gear, including the AED?
  4. Inventory: When were items in the medical bag last inventoried? (We look for expired items and inspect AED batteries for functionality.)
  5. Blood Type: Does the EP team know their protectee’s blood type?
  6. Allergies: Does the EP team know the protectee’s allergies and are they equipped with counter-measurers – like an Epi Pen?
  7. Medications: Are they aware of the protectee’s current known medications and do they have contact information for the protectee’s primary physician?
  8. Level 1 Trauma Center: Can the EP team provide the location for the nearest Level 1 Trauma center and do they understand the significance of a Level 1 vs. any Emergency Room?
  9. Landing Zone: Has the team designated a landing zone for life-flight response at the protectee’s home and/or office, and do they have the number to dispatch this capability?
  10. Medical Evacuation during travel: Does the team have a medical evacuation plan for protectee’s overseas travel? If contracted with a Medjet or similar service, does the team have contact information, plan information, and is that plan current or expired?


James Hamilton is a widely regarded expert on protection. Before his career at Gavin de Becker & Associates, James served 17 years as a Special Agent in the FBI, where he was handpicked to create, develop, and implement the FBI Academy’s Protective Training curriculum. His courses are currently taught to protectors at the NSA, NYPD, and many other agencies.

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