Senior executives do more than generate revenue: they represent, even embody, their organizations. They account for much of the intellectual and dollar value of their employers. Their protection is a critical component of any corporate security program.
But who should receive protection? As a company grows, produces more goods or services, expands to new markets, and/or increases its profile, it will likely wish to scale its EP program. Before doing so, it’s important to first understand the different components of an EP program. These components typically include threat and risk assessments, security planning and advances, close protection services, transportation and logistics, communications, and emergency response planning. Each of these components must be evaluated as the need arises. It may not be necessary to scale all of them.
As mentioned, the first step is a risk assessment. A risk assessment examines the risks faced collectively by the organization and individually by executives and critical staff. Assessments of both the organization and its people should be updated and refreshed regularly to reflect the changing risk environment.
For corporations, the IRS has designated certain fringe benefits that may be necessary for the safety of employees, partners, directors, and similar parties eligible for special treatment. 26 USC 132 allows for corporations to have an assessment conducted by an outside, independent third-party to articulate certain circumstances that justify special treatment received as a result of those security-related fringe benefits.
Key points of IRS-132
26 USC 132 requires that an assessment must be completed by a third party and should include:
Estate / Residential Protection
Office and Suite Security
Ground and Air Transportation
Ongoing Threat Management
Within this, several specific items must be covered:
An initial baseline threat assessment
Travel accommodations, including the nature of air travel (commercial or private)
Protective Personnel and Security Drivers and their training operations and procedures
Security Related Technologies
The security program at both the home and the office should address the broad categories of people, technology, and policies/procedures.
A risk assessment of the organization should, at minimum, look at the company growth trajectory, the geographies where the company operates, the nature of the threats its employees face, and the overall security landscape within the larger social and cultural context. Companies that expand into new markets or do business in high-risk regions must be particularly vigilant in ensuring that their EP program aligns with the increased threat.
A risk assessment of staff would determine, in part, which executives have the highest profile, travel most frequently, generate the most value, are the most controversial, or are the most irreplaceable.
Protection may be as much a function of “when” and “where” as of “who.” A COO traveling to a war zone may well require more protection than the better-known CEO of the same company who works at headquarters in Omaha.
Once risk assessments have been conducted, the next step is to develop a comprehensive security plan. The security plan should take the results of the risk assessments into account and should outline the steps that will be taken to mitigate the identified risks. This may involve implementing new security protocols, such as improving access control systems, increasing the presence of security personnel, or developing a transportation plan that minimizes the risks associated with travel.
In addition to a comprehensive security plan, companies must have the right personnel in place for the expected situations and environments. This may potentially include close protection personnel, residential security agents, or security drivers. Whether EP is provided in-house or by a contracted service, it is critical that EP specialists have the necessary training, experience, and expertise in the types of situations that they will be facing.
One often overlooked factor in scaling an executive protection program is transportation and logistics planning. This may involve securing private transportation options, such as aircraft or ground transportation, or developing detailed travel plans that minimize travel risks.
Effective communication is also essential for the success of an EP program. In fact, tightly choreographed communication may represent the most critical element of all. This may include the use of secure communication technologies, such as encrypted cell phones and laptops, as well as the development of clear protocols for communicating with executives and key personnel during emergency situations. It can also be as simple as having agents all use the same communications app and ensuring their phones are always charged.
If you’re struggling with the performance of your current security provider or you’re simply looking for a bespoke provider with industry leading solutions, CAI is here to assist you with all your risk mitigation needs. Contact us at email@example.com.
// COOKE & ASSOCIATES, INC.
At Cooke & Associates, Inc., we’re changing the image of protective services.
Cooke & Associates Inc. (CAI) is a global, world-class risk-mitigation and security solutions provider, dedicated to keeping our clients and their families safe and secure. With decades of cumulative security, intelligence, violence-prevention, investigative, law enforcement, and risk-mitigation experience, CAI offers best-in-class solutions that exceed industry standards and client expectations.
We pride ourselves on a profound understanding of the wants and needs of the most discerning clients and cultivate relationships with singular attention. CAI’s services allow our highly selective clientele the ultimate privacy and freedom without sacrificing robust security. We excel in relationships, logistics and the finer details of operations, ensuring lifestyle and culture are perfectly balanced with safety and security. Led by a dedicated team of professionals with extensive international experience, CAI provides its diverse clientele with a broad range of services and expertise in more than 50 countries.
Be sure to consult tax and legal experts on all matters relating to fringe benefits and their tax treatment. It is also important to know that tax and legal issues surrounding 26 USC 132 change, and current guidance should be sought. However, as industry security professionals it is important to know that this benefit exists, and to share it with your finance and governance leaders to help them optimize the expenditure of corporate resources and comply with tax and other regulatory guidance.