What is Close Protection? 

So, you are curious about getting into close protection, and you want to know whether it’s the right fit for you. If you’re new to the EP industry or are considering a career in the field, you probably have many questions. We’re here to provide answers to all of them. 

Close protection is an intricate and demanding profession – mentally and physically. However, from an outsider’s viewpoint, everything appears to be straightforward. Close protection agents are those tall, muscular guys with earpieces and sunglasses, standing next to celebrities, right?  

Well, they offer a plethora of very specialized services, often in ways that people are not aware of. While most people believe they can recognize Elon Musk’s detail since he is such a prominent individual, they usually have no idea what his CPAs look like – despite seeing their faces on social media or TV several times. 

This is why it’s critical to understand: 

  • The nature of close protection services and who needs them, and, 
  • The organization and structure of a close protection teams 

The Nature of Close Protection Services 

If you do a quick search on Google for “what is close protection” you’ll find a lot of different results. However, most of the information you’ll come across is incomplete or inaccurate, and some of it is just a way for security companies to sell their services.  

To put it simply: close protection (CP) is the provision of physical security services by someone who has undergone specialized training.  

CP services are a subset of executive protection services, and the security industry in general. The individuals that provide these services are usually called Close Protection agents (CPAs) or bodyguards in the industry.  

The day-to-day tasks of close protection can vary significantly, and the duties and responsibilities depend on the specific contract. Nonetheless, the main goal of CP is to prevent any harm, damage, loss, or fatalities from occurring. This means that their primary responsibilities are to ensure the safety and security of their Principals in various threatening situations, such as:  

  • physical assaults,  
  • harassment,  
  • kidnappings,  
  • embarrassment, 
  • unwanted attention, and  
  • other dangerous scenarios.  

As the term “close protection agent” suggests, they serve to provide a protective barrier, shield their Principals from immediate harm and prevent any potential harm from affecting them. 

Who Needs Close Protection 

Although it is commonly believed that only famous people and celebrities require close protection, this perception is not entirely accurate. While it is true that the majority of clients are celebrities, clients come from a wide range of industries.  

People such as politicians, government officials, lawyers, journalists, and influencers are just a few examples of individuals who may hire bodyguards to ensure their safety. Close protection is an essential aspect of security protocols for diplomats, politicians, members of royal families, judges, and even jurors, depending on the circumstances.  

Actually, any person that attracts a lot of public attention, shares personal information online, or is famous for any reason is a prime candidate for close protection. Even those who are not in the public eye can be in danger, such as people in witness protection programs or extremely wealthy individuals who feel vulnerable.  

It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and individuals from various walks of life may also require close protection.  

The situation can become even more complex when family members of the client are involved. In some cases, family members may be at a greater risk than the client and become the primary target of adversaries. Attackers may use family members as leverage or to inflict more pain on the client.  

Therefore, it is crucial for CPAs to know the client’s family members’ habits and movements. It is not surprising that close protection agents often become like family after working with the same client for an extended period.  

The profession requires them to know their clients and their families intimately and to blend in seamlessly in their lives. 

Close Protection Teams and Roles 

A close protection team is a group of protectors that takes measures to minimize the risk of danger to the person who requires protection. The individuals who form the team are responsible for deescalating any aggressive situation involving the Principal. However, the responsibilities of a CPA extend beyond this.  

In essence, the agents are also accountable for safeguarding the Principal’s way of life, reputation, possessions, assets, and business. To fulfill these requirements, the team may consist of specialized agents who undertake multiple roles, depending on the budgetary constraints of the close protection team. 

In general, CPA refers to anyone involved in protecting the Principal, regardless of their specific role. However, a full close protection detail consists of individuals with very specific responsibilities. 

The Team Leader (TL) manages the detail and communication with the client, who is usually the entity employing and paying for the services. The TL requires experience and intimate knowledge of the industry and Principal to ensure smooth and efficient operations. 

The Second in Command (2IC) acts as a deputy detail leader and supports the TL during larger operations. They also step in for the TL when they are absent and can act as the Quartermaster (QM) if required. 

The Personal Protection Specialist (PPS) is responsible for protecting the Principal, although their exact role may vary depending on the detail and Principal. They are part of the inner cordon of protection and are responsible for removing the Principal from compromised situations. The PPS requires experience, inspires confidence and trust in the Principal, and is often tasked with spending time and communicating with them. 

The Personal Escort Section (PES) provides and maintains a safe area around the Principal, also known as the outer cordon. They constantly look for threats or suspicious activity and position themselves to provide 360-degree coverage. A well-trained PES adapts to any environment or situation, moving seamlessly around the Principal. In certain situations, operating overtly is desirable, such as guarding a high-profile government official in a hostile environment. 

Overall, each member of a close protection detail plays a specific and crucial role in ensuring the Principal’s safety and security. 


In conclusion, close protection is not just limited to protecting famous people or celebrities. CPAs are well-trained professionals who provide physical security services to individuals who require protection due to their occupation, status, or personal circumstances.  

Their primary goal is to ensure the safety and security of their Principals in various threatening situations, such as physical assaults, harassment, kidnappings, dangerous scenarios or even embarrassment. While the profession is demanding, it offers specialized services that can ensure the safety and well-being of those who require protection. 

If you are looking to start your career in close protection, EPI offers a wide range of courses and training that can help you increase and improve your skillset and a long and successful career. 

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