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World-Class Executive Protection Training Begins with Fundamentals

Do you want your executive protection training to be cool or effective? Bill Duchene, one of the world’s most sought after protection experts, reveals his Template for fundamental-based executive protection training.

My Executive Protection Training Philosophy

After 25 years of instructing military and executive protection specialists, I’ve adopted the following training philosophy:

  • Keep it simple – focus on fundamentals
  • Keep it relevant – focus on the mission
  • Keep it progressive — build upon fundamentals

Much of the security and protection training out there forgets these guidelines and adheres to the “cool factor” of their training, i.e. how will this look on YouTube? The “cool factor” is not going to save a protectee’s life. Simple, relevant, and progressive training – focused on the fundamentals and the specific mission — will.

Ted Williams, arguably the greatest hitter of all time, still practiced with a tee. I still dry fire my weapon. I spend more time on the fundamentals of sight picture and sight alignment than I do practicing fast magazine changes. It may not be “cool,” but it’s relevant and it works. Though we will build upon the basics, progressing to more advanced training practices, we never neglect the foundation of our skillsets. The strength of a training program, like any house, is in the foundation.

Training Design

Now that I’ve explained my Simple, Relevant, and Progressive training philosophy, here’s how I apply it. When I design training, I ask myself three questions:

1. Mission: What’s the mission?

2. Core Skills: What core skills support this mission?

3. Standard: To what standard will we train?

Once I determine the Mission (#1) and identify the Core Skills (#2) needed to accomplish that mission, I establish Training Standards (#3) that ensure the core skills I identified.

Implementation

In executive protection, the mission (#1) is to protect the principal’s life. One of the many core skills (#2) supporting this mission is medical response. Now that we have identified (#1 and #2), it’s time to establish #3 – the standard to which we will train.

Establishing a Standard

To protect, or save, human life (our mission) during a medical emergency (our core skill), we’ll need to meet the following standard:

  • An initial CPR/AED/First Aid certification process recognized by the American Heart Association (or other recognizing authority).
  • Continual refresher training, including relevant scenarios protectors will encounter.
  • Quarterly qualification and proficiency assessments throughout a protector’s career, thereby ensuring they’re always prepared to save a life.

Review

To come full circle, I’ll ensure my implementation of medical training aligns with my aforementioned training philosophy:

  • Simple? I established the mission‐essential core skill of medical. To meet this core skill, the following training is required: CPR/AED certifications, first aid refresher training, and quarterly qualifications.
  • Relevant? Medical emergencies are the most common emergencies our protectors will encounter. As a result, our medical training will focus most on life saving skills and not skills like drawing blood. Nor will we focus on overly advanced skills like surgery.
  • Progressive? Protectors who desire an EMT license or to become a qualified medical instructor at our firm, will need to build upon their core medical skills (the fundamentals) with more advanced skills and certifications.

Conclusion

Know the Mission, understand the Core Skills required for the mission, and then Train towards those core skills. In doing so, your executive protection training will remain simple, relevant, and progressive.

Bill Duchene has led large protection teams across six continents and consulted with several national security and intelligence agencies on the implementation of GDBA’s protection philosophy and training programs. He continues to lead instruction for thousands of protectors stationed around the world, including corporate security teams and law enforcement professionals.

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