There is something about beginnings – starting a relationship, a new job, an incoming opportunity, or a new detail. Whatever it is, that idea of a fresh start brings with it new energy, excitement, and opportunity to refine what we have learned, taking lessons from past actions, and thoughtfully evaluating them to create better future options.
The incoming year will carry over baggage from its predecessor, continuing to challenge us as practitioners to constantly adapt to situations, mitigating hazards of the profession with the continued creativity that is the cornerstone of any superior close protection professional. Some lagging challenges to consider:
Rogue State Effects
Russia’s continued incursion into Ukraine has already produced unintended consequences that have manifested into issues ranging from supply chains to the cost of a plane ticket. Meanwhile, the great power competition between China and the United States continues and Iran has shown the world it has a long memory, is patient, and is willing to use assassination as a means to an end.
It’s been three years since the pandemic known as COVID arrived on the world stage, and it has yet to vanish from the discussion entirely. Even though we are far more informed about the issues than before, resurgences of COVID will be something we will need to consider as we travel and manage rings of protection around our clients.
Polarization of political views continues to prevent people from having deeper discussions and debates, jumping to demonize opposing views and making every conversation seemingly existential, no matter how small the topic is. Many of those people and events we are charged to secure often fall squarely into someone’s (or some group’s) opposing viewpoint.
Both boon and burden, technology has enriched our ability to force multiply our work through greater protective intelligence, threat management, and operational organization. Still, it creates significant challenges for the industry, from the availability of open-source intelligence (OSINT) to the distracting siren call of social media and the blurring of the work with a personal brand.
Most economists agree that Issues loom for the latter half of 2023. Even now, we see continued layoffs and fiscal resets giving protectors pause as we must both monitor for threats and work within changing budgetary constraints.
But it’s okay, and as industry and innovation continue, they create opportunities for protectors to perform their duties and develop their businesses. We are a field that prides itself on our ability to react and adapt to situations as they unfold – rapidly conducting risk management and decision-making in a moment. In contrast, others can take months, and this essential element sets us apart.
As outlined above, 2023 will have its challenges. Still, as demonstrated by this year’s Close Protection Conference, we Practitioners are adaptive, creative, and inherently understand the power of the professional network as we conduct the nuanced work of securing people, assets, and events against all-hazards threats. Fueled by our inherent creativity, humility, and honor, we maintain the optimism and grit to persevere.
Happy New Year to all!
Stay vigilant and keep your heads down.
Chuck Randolph, PPS
International Protective Security Board