I haven’t written in a long time, so I thought to say goodbye to this Year with an old topic. The real world of Executive Protection with all its truths and myths.
Many newcomers in the profession have a completely different idea of what the profession is, based on what they have heard or what Hollywood tells them it is. This lack of “truth” either leaves them disappointed or leaves them vulnerable to making mistakes while on duty.
It is common in our industry to see many of our colleagues posting pictures on the internet social media sites of “selfies” taken in first class airline seats or in the client’s private jet. More selfies show them with their feet up on a suitcase claiming ‘’another flight’’, or posting from 5 and 6 star hotel rooms or from the finer restaurants, or next to a limousine parked next to a jet.
The reality is that the majorities of these pictures are either staged or were taken while not actually working a security detail. I have seen colleagues, ask or even offer to pay to stand next to a private jet. They put on their best 100 dollar suit, shiny 30 dollar Timex watch and 12 dollar dark sunglasses and “pose” next to someone else’s 10 million dollar jet. And I have seen aircraft tail numbers show up in these photos and for fun, ran the numbers, located the owners, and even tracked the flights.
The reality is anyone can pose anywhere and anytime and make it look like they are working. Anyone can ask a limo driver to take a picture of them next to that limo. When you are in such dire need to brag about your job to others that you put your client’s health and safety at risk, who in our industry would ever work with you or recommend you to others?
If I could only call out the people I know who were on vacations with their families and they post pictures pretending to be on a detail. I even know people who traveled to third world countries to meet their ‘’online’’ girlfriend or boyfriend and they posted pictures as working a detail in those countries.
The reality is, when you work for someone, it is rare to have a first class airline seat next to them on a 6 hour flight. Most clients, no matter how wealthy they are will book you an economy seat. Yes, there are a few clients who will book first class for their CPOs but to qualify to work for these clients you must already be well established in the industry and have a plethora of industry history and references.
The reality is that when you work with a well-trained team, you will work on rotations and schedules that allow for only two things: keeping the client safe and getting to bed to get enough sleep to be able to do it again tomorrow. Anyone who has the time to ‘’enjoy’’ taking pictures has probably too much time on their hands and maybe isn’t working at all. And if you are working alone, you cannot spare the laps in attention to your client to focus on yourself.
I have been in rotations where after work I was so tired that I didn’t have the energy or interest to call my family. This is usually due to working long shifts alone which is a situation worth discussing in another article.
The reality is when your client travels, they may be working or on vacation but if you travel with them, you are always working. You will always get less sleep than your client. When they finally retire for the evening, you are up another few hours planning and preparing for the next day. When they wake, it might be because you are responsible for waking them, which means you are up a couple of hours before them.
While working, you have to focus on your client’s needs. Finding time to eat and go to the bathroom is not your client’s responsibility or even on their mind. If you want to eat, you have to find your own way to do it quickly. If you need to empty your bladder, you have to leave sight of your client and return quickly. If it is not safe to leave your client, then you choose to either hold it, or make other arrangement. This is hard enough as a male but as a female, it is nearly impossible to improvise. Again, a subject for future articles.
The reality is you will need to find time to eat, sleep, shower, go to the bathroom, write reports, call your family, pay your bills, clean your clothes, charge your equipment batteries, train, stretch, exercise, and accomplish other normal life tasks and all outside of the client’s view.
You will find yourself doing things you wouldn’t do in your personal life, because you have to adapt to your client’s activities. And you will need to be an expert in your client’s extracurricular activities to enable you to not just accompany them but to identify threats to their safety. Riding elephants or horses, scuba diving, skydiving, hunting, mountain biking… And if you know you are not qualified, learn when to partner with or hire your own replacement for the activity.
You will find yourself in presence of heated family conversations and you are asked to take a side.You know its unprofessional to choose a side and you have to find a diplomatic answer within seconds. You will see behaviors and listen to words that will challenge your own personal and professional ethics. And again you will adapt or fail.
You will find yourself in challenging environments too. (I developed asthma working in Mumbai), you may get food or water poisoning, malaria, and even get worms from food.
You will have to work with people who have no training or they have been trained differently than you. Some “professionals” in our industry are great with weapons or driving but have no concept of controlling body odor. They speak 4 languages but can’t drive a car, they can cook any meal out of any cookbook but can’t provide first-aid on an insect bite or gunshot wound.
The reality is that people who come from different cultures and have different perspectives regarding punctuality, performance of their duties, and the common traits of professionalism have no clue that every decision they make from their clothing, language skills, hygiene habits and skill are all measured by the clients who would hire them.
The reality is that true professionals will not let themselves be photographed by others and certainly would never photograph themselves while working. And they will not want to work with those who do.
Professionals will know the difference between ethics and etiquette and follow the rules of each. Doing anything to compromise your client’s business or personal privacy is not just a mistake, it is a catastrophic attack on my industry and my ability to earn a living in it. I will continue to counter these attacks with my articles.
Professionals will know how to dress for any occasion their clients may invite them into and know how to negotiate with the client to avoid unsafe activities and conditions.
Professionals will know how to do one-hundred things in the company of their client that will never be acknowledged or appreciated and a thousand things near their client that will never be seen or known.
The reality is if you seek recognition in this industry for the function you are being paid to perform, you are not a true professional and have no business in the Executive Protection Industry. You will be looked upon as a cancer to those of us who remain silent and invisible while in the company of our clients.
Founder & CEO
Athena Worldwide LLC
Athena’s Close Protection Operative certification is the next generation in Close Protection training. Our course has been adapted to meet the particular training and educational requirements, specific to female close protection operatives.
-Principles of Executive Protection/Code of Conduct
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-Armed and Unarmed Combat/Krav Maga
-Anti-Terrorism (identification and and the terrorist cycle)
-Improvised Explosive Device
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Our instructors are from Israel, Greece, and the United States. They brings ATHENA students unparalleled real world experience in protective service operations. Instructors that have served Prime Ministers, celebrities, CEO’s and other influential leaders will be teaching you.
We have an excellent success rate and once the course is completed we continue to work with our students to progress their development and assist their entry into the Close Protection world.
To learn more please visit: http://www.AthenaAcademy.com/
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Course cost is $2,000 with payment schedules available to those who qualify. Deposits for this course are $500, and full course fees paid 3 weeks before starting date.
Application date open until July 30
So you want to be a bodyguard?
Lets have a look on a 48hours detail of a close protection agent.
By Dave Marris
High Risk Security Contractor & Security Consultant
I have been pounded recently by requests from Facebook, and a couple of other sources, by requests from various people wanting to know how they can become involved in the world of protection/security. Most are looking for that “silver bullet” that will rocket them to the top of the EP world in one fell swoop. I try constantly to educate them that this short cut is very, very hard to accomplish. A few have done it, based off of their connections in certain industries, but most do not. There really is no shortcut; there is no silver bullet, only hard work, long hours and a LOT of money invested in training and equipment. It takes YEARS to develop the skill and mindset to qualify you to properly perform this work. Think long and hard before you decide that this is what you want to do for a living. It can be a very stressful way to make a living.
On to the point. I just recently performed a 2 day assignment for a friend of a friend. For those aspiring people that would like to get involved in the industry, I will share “a day in the life” with you. This is a no holds barred description and timeline of a typical 2 day assignment. No glitz, no glam…just a rock hard description of the type of work you are getting yourself into. I myself, I love it…always have. However I warn you, this work is not for the weak of heart, mind, body or spirit. What follows is a 40 hour plus, non-stop roller coaster ride, with zero sleep. To those of you that may think this would be easy…I challenge you to try it, staying awake that long. And remember, you will be performing it sans any stress at all.
This is a long read. Think so? You should try DOING it…
BTW, all information shared here is open source material. No OPSEC information with-in the assignment has been compromised.
Client: The Cleopatra Exhibit, along with 2 principles.
Objective: Guarantee safe transport of two Egyptian Nationals and approximately 300 million dollars worth of Egyptian artifacts (3 tractor and trailers) from current venue in Philadelphia, PA to new venue in Cincinnati, OH.
My Position: ATL, team medic.
Special Equipment: Motorola radios, personal handguns, 1 x long gun-Bushmaster M-4, 1 x shotgun-Mossberg 500, medical gear, GPS.
Timeline: Trucks and PAX MUST arrive at new venue by 0800 of day 2. A press conference is scheduled for 0900 and the one 5,000 pound statue must be uncrated by then so as to be used as a center piece for the cameras. Contractual clause states payment will not be rendered to security company should failure of timeline occur. At no time is any one truck to be separated, either all arrive or all do not. No truck is to be opened at any time by anyone other than the two Egyptians. To do so would cause the curse of 1,000 years and so on… (Rolls eyes.)
My Earnings: $1,000 US dollars, pre tax.
Day 1 (This is all day one as you have to sleep in order for it to count as two days)
0800: Meet with the team to discuss overall plan of operation, routes, comms, etc.
0845: Team splits to accomplish pickup of rental vehicles and inspect loaded trucks at storage location. Sub-Team 1 will pick up clients; Sub-Team 2 will take possession of trucks, check seals, secure and stage trucks for movement. Sub-Team 3 accompanies Team 1.
1000: Sub-Teams meet at storage facility, enter order of march, confirm discussion from earlier meeting. One of the Egyptian Nationals is sick, vomiting and diarrhea. Neither speaks much English and no interpreter has been assigned by the client. This information was never discussed prior to jump-off time. Egyptian National insists on making the trip anyway. Being the team medic, I dispense over the counter meds and some Flagyl to help control the sickness.
1045: Convoy departs Philadelphia for Cincinnati, timeline allows for transit time, including stops and fueling of 14-16 hours, which should put us into Cincinnati well ahead of schedule.
1200: The sick Egyptian needs to stop for a bathroom break. I administer 2 more Imodium to try to stop the diarrhea. Team 2 vehicle (client team) smells like a bad sewer. All chase vehicles refuel since the opportunity presents itself.
1600: Proximity Pittsburg, PA fuel/bathroom stop in major route truck stop. Light snow has begun to fall. One of the drivers of the trucks now decides to pull his truck onto the “free” scale at the truck stop. Up to this point we had not hit a weigh station. Driver informs TL that his vehicle is +- 2,000 pounds above the maximum allowed for his wheelbase. This is a major issue as there are a number of state weigh stations between us and the destination, where the trucks are required to stop, enforced by State Police. This truck will not be allowed to continue if found to be over weight. Security is informed that we will be delayed until a resolution comes from the trucking company about how to proceed. I inquire about length of delay and am told we can not proceed until the green light is given by someone from the trucking company to accept liability. We move trucks and escort vehicles into a defensive posture. TL and truckers hold up with comms in one of the trucks, making numerous phone calls. I extricate my long gun from its case, brought for this very reason, and several jaws hit the street. (Fuck ‘em, it’s my ass.) After 2 hours of chatter and delays while the snow has continued to fall and accumulate, I go over to the “meeting truck” and pound on the door, climb up into the cab. More conversation and I finally convince the driver to continue. If we see an open weigh station, we will pull over, stop and deal with it then. Until then, we roll.
1830: Depart the truck stop.
2000: Approaching Wheeling, WV. The snow has increased from light to something else. Visibility is lowering, as is our speed. We are now traveling at an average of 40 MPH. The chase vehicles are 4WD but the TT trucks are carrying precious cargo, so the speed drop is critical and necessary. We are losing precious time, but still have plenty of time to complete the trip with a few hours to spare.
2130: Approaching the Ohio border, truck 3 calls out over the radio that he has a mechanical problem. Snow has continued and speed has dropped to 25 MPH. His alternator light has come on and his truck computer has dropped his power output to half to save the batteries. Truck 1 informs the convoy that there is a truck stop not far from where we are, and since truck 3 has a small internal generator, he should be able to make it.
2150: At the truck stop we lift the engine cover to find that the serpentine belt on the engine of truck 3 has broken. The broken belt whipped around and also took out the tension pulley. Not good. The truck can not go far without proper repair. Several phone calls are made and a repair shop is open within 4 miles of our current position. They however do not have the parts. The parts will be have to be brought in from another location. This truck is the climatically controlled truck of the 3 and the seals of this truck can not be broken in an uncontrolled environment, so calling another truck to transfer the cargo is not possible. We load up and drive to the repair shop. Good news is the sick Egyptian principle is feeling much better. She wants to know where the “doctor” studied medicine.
2230: After arriving at the repair shop, truck 3 is pulled into the repair bay. The owner wanted to disconnect the tractor from the trailer so that the climate control generator fumes would not make the air in the shop foul. I was tasked with staying with the truck in the repair bay while the rest of the team set security outside. (Remember the long gun?) I told him to open a window. The repair guys were not happy with the fact that I was carrying a rifle in their shop. I told them to get over it and I guess they did.
2300: Parts arrive along with a mechanic that is a specialist with this kind of work. He can not give me a timeline for the repair. I ask him to please hurry.
2345: The mechanic informs me that the shop will be closing at midnight and he does not know if the repair will be completed by then. I tell the mechanic’s helper to go and find the shop owner, and call the TL on the radio and ask her to come inside. With all players there, I inform the TL of the problem. She asks me what I think and I state that I think the shop will be extending hours for the evening. The shop owner agrees. (I sincerely believe this had everything to do with the fact that I had an M-4 slung over my shoulder.)
0030: Repair complete. Per the TL’s orders I flip the owner of the shop a hundred bucks and the mechanic fifty for being good sports. The next obstacle will be the weigh stations.
0045: Order of march is resumed. Snow continues to fall heavily and roads are becoming covered and slick. Average speed is 35 to 40 MPH and we are still some 200 miles from the destination. Luckily for us the weigh station that caused the earlier concern is closed due to the crappy weather. We roll by without incident.
0245: Approximately 100 miles from destination we stop at yet another truck stop for fuel and coffee. Snow continues to dog us and everyone is a bit irritable and tired. We have been switching off drivers, but the contract calls for 100% alert, so no one has slept.
0315: Back on the road. Visibility and road conditions have continued to deteriorate. Lead truck driver is considering calling the roads to hazardous to continue. The TL calls him on the radio and tells him this is unacceptable and we need to continue even if at 25 MPH.
0415: Like magic, the snow suddenly stops. 5 miles further up the road, there is not even any sign of the snow. Ohio is a weird place. We push to 70 MPH and start to make some time. I am driving and tired and beginning to see ninjas with poison dart blowguns peering out from the bushes on the side of the road.
0630: Arrive at the venue with 1 and a half hours to spare. That’s right, we bad. Despite the need to overcome a number of obstacles…success.
0730: Trucks are staged at the loading docks. Local union workers begin unloading the first of the 3 trucks.
0800: Press and television crews begin to arrive. They are filming the unloading and set up process for the statue. Our team is asked to help with securing the area and checking entry credentials, since this is a private event.
0900: The press conference begins.
1100: Press conference runs overtime. Unloading of the trucks begin. This process is incredibly slow as the Egyptians insist on touching every crate as it comes out of the trucks, then mumbling a few words. This is compounded by the fact that every piece of the display is considered “priceless” and must be handled with utmost care. We are contractually bound to supervise the unloading process.
1500: Unloading is complete. We say our goodbyes and head to Daton airport to catch a 1700 flight back to Philly. Downtown traffic is bad and we are delayed enough to miss our flight. After an hour at the airline counter, we are finally put on a flight to Philly via Newark. We have very little time between flights, and we are all traveling with weapons in Pelican cases. If we miss the connector in Newark, out weapons will be on the baggage carousel unattended in Philly.
1935: Depart Daton.
2050: Arrive Newark.
2150: Depart Newark.
2230: Arrive Philadelphia.
2245: Wife and son arrive at the airport to pick me up.
0000: After a shower and a stiff Jack Daniel’s (hey I earned it), off to bed. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. Seriously.
What do you expect?
Some helpful hints to getting your foot in the door.
By Jason Collins
CPS, Security Consultant, CP Instructor
You have taken the time to go through one of the many Executive Protection schools around the world. You’ve sacrificed time and money for this training. You’ve learned the core fundamentals to becoming a bodyguard. Now you are ready to break out and start working in the industry.
How do I do this? First off, begin marketing yourself…..from this point on, YOU make or break YOUR future.
- Network, network, network…..get to know potential clients, fellow operators, job opportunities. The internet and today’s technologies, brings everything you need to begin, right to your fingertips. So utilize it…… your instructors, fellow students and former graduates are always a great place to start.
- Due diligence and following instructions- if you are on a job board site and see a job that interests you, DO NOT just apply for it….thoroughly read the post….if it says “in need of a Spanish speaking operator with 2 years experience in south America”, do not apply if this is your first attempt at finding work, you only speak your native language and you have never left your country. Find out all the facts before jumping into something you have no idea about. Know beforehand, what it is you’re getting into.
- Be professional…..again, you make or break your future. You will most certainly be overlooked if you respond to a job bid or post with poor grammar and an obvious lack of professionalism. Sell yourself.
- Know what you’re looking for … whether you want to go the celebrity, corporate, local or corporate warrior route, due your research. Utilize the resources out there for finding work in that specific niche. Start small. Make yourself known to local LEO agencies, state and municipal government agencies. Your local mayor, political campaigns, domestic abuse centers and currier services and strike work details are all good starting points.
- KEEP TRAINING. I cannot emphasize this enough. Just because you’ve gone through a “bodyguard” school does not mean you’re ready to take on the world…..It is just the beginning….train often. Keep your skill set fresh and evolving. The more you train, the better you become.
- And finally……apply with multiple agencies, multiple positions and multiple jobs. Always be on “a list” . more often than not, things don’t “just happen”. Things (jobs/contracts) take time. Logistics and regulations have to be met and followed through. So be on the list so when and if it does happen, you’re there. If you bank everything on one job, you’re going to get discouraged regularly when that job fails to take place.
Hopefully, this can get you on the right track to finding work….always ask questions, be professional, have integrity and don’t burn bridges.
From Georgios Liakouras
Anti-Terrorism Specialist Agent, CPS
About your Resume: It is what it is. Even if it is only 1 page, don’t ever lie about your qualifications or the personal information you are mentioning within the resume. It is not professional to lie because if a potential employer does their due diligence and researches your qualifications, and finds out you have lied in your resume, that’s a sure way to NEVER be hired by that employer. Most times clients who are well informed can know if you have worked for that ‘client’’ or not. In the past I have dealt with people who claimed to be working in one famous actor’s personal close protection team. When I asked to see his recommendation letter I saw that he was working as a statistic security guard employed by a security company. Learning this, I did not want to proceed and hire this person.
If you have to, attach another document for your analytic “Professional Education & Training” where you are mentioning the exact training you have taken, by which organizations, the dates and the places.
About the color in the Resume: Be sure you are using the right words in your resume and that is in a nice format. Take the place of a CEO that needs to hire a bodyguard for protection. Why should someone reject a resume because a line is blue and not black? Could this difference in text color replace all CP’ knowledge and skills for his protection? Also, the colors, underlines, bolt, numbers make the text more clear and easier/faster to spot the lines that he is interesting in. A red car is not better than a white car but is more bright and visible but the white car is better in the hot weather. Every color has something to tell us. Make your resume as simple and easy to read and understand.
About Hiring a Personal Protection Specialist Agent: The potential client, that needs protection will not just read your Resume within 2 minutes and decide to hire you as the person that will protect his life. Give him the time to have a good look at it, to ‘’study’’ it. He has to read your information without even thinking about the time and he has to understand all of your qualifications prior to decide. If an agency is flooded with resumes and CV’s, they will all be looked over. The person going over your resume will thoroughly look through it. It is a life or death decision. If you don’t read you cannot learn and if you don’t read you cannot know. So keep your resume simple and tailored to that specific client. You want all the information contained to be easy to read and understand without overwhelming the client with language that’s to complex or filled with “operator specific” jargon that the client won’t recognize or understand.
About experience: We know that if you have experience it is probably to get a higher salary and if less experience it is probably to get a less salary. I say probably because the CEO will decide the level and kind of experience he needs (No more no less) and the money to afford. The same thing is for the level and variety of knowledge/education. In the market we have Executive Protection, Personal Protection, Diplomatic Protection, Celebrities Protection, Estate Protection, Vessel Security, PSD Operator that needs different level and kind of experience, knowledge, education and other way to perform the system of protection and social status/character. So, in saying this…..if you are not currently working, TRAIN! Train often and train hard. Learn and grow in your craft. The more knowledge and skill you possess, the better the chances of landing the job.
About the active role of Bodyguard/PSD Operator/Vessel Security:
There are many people who work in security industry and they have a background from Special Forces, law enforcement, private investigations, etc. The training is good and prepares you mentally, controls fear, physically and use of weapons, but it does not make you automatically an Executive Personal Protection Specialist Agents without a specific certified Bodyguard training. A Bodyguard does not make look for confrontation but protects his/her client and goes for an avenue of escape. He does not have heavy weapons and cloths and nor any other army/aerial/navy support. He cannot utilize his martial arts in the street or take his gun and start to shoot as we do in the combat. He will lose his job and the CEO will pay a high liability. Have in mind that in England and many other countries we cannot use weapons.
PSD Operator: A PSD Operator is a civilian and not an active soldier. He is not there to be the aggressor, but , like the bodyguard, he will protect and escape with the client. No army support no heavy cloths no many and heavy weapons and ammunitions as a Marine. Even in Iraq as a PSD Operator you cannot shoot anyone with no reason (PSD Operators court case of Armor Group in Iraq assault).
Vessel/Maritime Security & Escort: They compose of 4 to 5 people on the ship. Some of them with no weapons against pirates, who usually have many and heavy weapons. The military training and war methods cannot be applied on the ship.
About your Experience & Education/Training : If you have 10 years experience and this is also hypothetic (The client will judge it according his needs). Also, if you have 10 years someone else will have 15 and if you have 15 years someone else will have 25 e.t.c….So, if they want to hire someone with the MAX of years experience then not many people will be available and what about the others with less years (No work places?).If you finish a Police Academy you cannot start working as an officer? Do you need experience for that?. What about the training? Is it not an experience? In this case why do they send the marines after their training in Iraq to make real war? Where is their experience? But as we know the training is experience!!
The knowledge is power and not anymore the weapons and muscles. We know that many marines and Special Forces lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan from simple people with just a simple weapon. Where is their experience? Nothing is really guaranteed or experience or knowledge in the real war but the bodyguard is not in the war nor is he a soldier.
Working as a Bodyguard or PSD Operator or Vessel/Maritime Security, very important is the preparation and execution of the security plan and to perform a complete plan, you need a vast and various knowledge/education/training/life experience/maturity. Weapons are the last resort and in some countries you do not even have this last resort. You can use a pistol but not rifles/ machine-guns/grenades/rockets in many countries so the training in the army will not be applicable.
So, when you start to study and training you will understand that the education of the different fields such as: Security, Investigation, and Homeland security, Anti-terrorism, Security management and many others as you will mention in your documents is a powerful combination and create a powerful weapon called “knowledge”.
According to the statistics 95% and up the bodyguards was dead after an organized ambush.
Many of them had no time to draw their guns and if they have guns. The key is the preparation to avoid the ambush and/or escape and to make it happen you need knowledge to the subject.
You cannot find people in the market that have many years experience with deadly ambush, but you can find some people with the knowledge to avoid them.
A bodyguard/PSD Operator/Vessel Security cannot and must not react as a Police officer or Soldier and many of the military or police training and experience cannot be applicable. You are a civilian! Only if you work as mercenary you can react as soldier.
About Muscular Size and Martial Arts: Some clients ignore the real role of a bodyguard and look to hire muscular people or people with a black belt in a specialized martial art. This is not a guarantee. What about if the killer/terrorist/assassin is more than one? What about if they know martial arts too? What about if they are muscular? What about if they had Special Forces training? What about if they have weapons and the bodyguard does not? Can a single bodyguard be against them? In the movies, yes but not in reality. The muscles, weapons and martial arts are just some last tools to use in some cases.
About EX Secret Service/FBI/Police Officers: Some clients prefer to hire retired agents because they have good training and knowledge and think that they can protect them as the president but they are wrong. One, they are civilians, two, they do not have the support of their organization (Equipments and Agents), and three, they can only use pistols or nothing according to the law of the country. So, they can offer protection like any other bodyguard.
About Night Club Security and People of the Night: These people are simple security guards with a better salary because they work at night and for a club and with some tips. From my experience as security club in Belgium, I have noticed they are usually big guys or regular but with knowledge of self-defense. They do not have any knowledge and qualification to be Personal Protection Agents. These people are able to protect someone from an attack of “wallet thief’s”, drunken people or ex-wife/ex-husband attack and keep far the journalists. Their salary must not be the same or above the salary of a Professional Personal Protection Agent that must do everything against every kind of threats nationally and internationally.