191 – Certification in Executive Protection

In this week’s episode of the EPST podcast, we discuss certification in Executive Protection.

The podcast is provided by the International Security Driver Association. Every week we share secure transportation and executive protection headlines, news, trends, and educational content for today’s practitioners.

Listen to the Podcast

The Need for Standardization

Two topics of discussion that can dominate social media are certification and the state of training in the executive protection and secure transportation industry. In reality, certification and training are inseparable. There is a need for standardization in the EP profession.

It has always been the opinion of the ISDA that the job market wants and will support a certification that meets the standards set by respected industry and government organizations. Those who supply job opportunities welcome a certification that withstands the scrutiny of the corporate, legal, and insurance community. Nonetheless, there are still global job markets in the protection business where certification, insurance risk, and liability are not significant concerns.

Certificate vs. Certification

There continues to be confusion between a certificate and a certification. In other industries, it’s common practice to conduct training and issue a certificate. That is a reasonable and accepted practice, evidenced by the number of certified seminars and events covering a particular industry or subject. But that’s not the same as a certification.  For decades the Executive Protection and Security Driver training available does not offer certification. It is training for a certificate. There is an enormous difference. It does not mean that the certificate is not valuable, as seen by the market. Still, it is not a certification defined by the accrediting organizations that are the standards in many other industries. And that is the critical issue.

Some training providers cause some confusion concerning certification vs. certificate. That is not a criticism; it is an observation. The simple fact is that the training community does not set the criteria for certification. Suppose the Executive Protection /Security Driver industry wants to be recognized by the job market as credible and professional. In that case, the industry must do what other industries do – follow the guidelines recognized by credentialing organizations. And, by a wide margin, the most recognized credentialing organization is – The American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

ANSI and BEPP

For those who may not know of ANSI, their mission is:

“to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and safeguarding their integrity.”

ANSI encompasses nearly every industry. The Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations and 30 million professionals worldwide. Their website is https://www.ansi.org/.

The key phrase is “nearly every industry” as one of the industries not certified by ANSI – is Executive Protection. But that may be changing. Recently there have been inroads made to create a viable ANSI standard. The board of Executive Protection Professionals, or BEPP for short, led by James Cameron, has received their ANSI accreditation and became an approved Standard Developer. The ANSI announcement reads – 

ANSI’s Executive Standards Council has approved BEPP – Board of Executive Protection Professionals, a new ANSI member in 2021, as an ANSI-Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) under its proposed operating procedures for documenting consensus on BEPP-sponsored American National Standards, effective September 20, 2021

To get more information visit their website,  www.ep-board.org, or email info@ep-board.org. If you would like to be considered for the Technical Committee or Working Group member, an application is available on their website.

ISDA is confident that there will be many questions concerning the BEPP and the EP certification process. The BEPP has initially covered some questions by creating a five-page Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) Document. We suggest all EP and Security Driver look at the FAQs

The BEPP has also created a YouTube video.

The ABCDEP

We (ISDA) have a great deal of familiarity with the ANSI process. Years back, ISDA’s founder, Tony Scotti, had been involved in acquiring ANSI Certification in Dignitary and Executive Protection through the American Board for Certification in Dignitary and Executive Protection (ABCDEP). The structure of the ABCDEP was similar to that of the BEPP. It took a few years, many meetings, and conference calls to develop the program. Included in the process were a 56-page study guide and testing procedures. The committee made a workable process. The ABCDEP Certification did not come to fruition due to insurmountable problems with the program’s sponsors, the American Board in Homeland Security (ABCHS). 

The BEPP has a long and arduous road ahead, but all good things have a starting point, and ISDA applauds their efforts.

Along with the BEPP, the ASIS Executive Protection Community is working towards creating standardization in the Executive Protection Profession. Working with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center (NUPPC), the ASIS Executive Protection Council is working to identify and describe the core competencies for the field of executive protection.

The NUPPC implemented an online survey to draft core competencies with Executive Protection Professionals working around the world. 

The information in the report is a must-read for anyone involved in the Executive Protection/Secure Transportation Profession.

The link to the report Executive Protection Professionals Core Competencies Survey Report

https://ppc.unl.edu/resource/executive-protection-professionals-core-competencies-survey-report

The ASIS Executive Protection Community produces a Quarterly newsletter – you can access the newsletter on their LinkedIn group.


Corporate Travel Risk Management Standardization

Also, in recent weeks another organization, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), that creates professional standards, has introduced a new Guideline For Corporate Travel Risk Management – ISO 31030. 

ISO 31030 is intended to assist those managing and participating in organizational travel. Travel risk management is a component of any organization’s travel-related activities and should include interaction with stakeholders.

There are many reasons why people travel for their organization. Travelling has increasingly become a common feature of people’s jobs or functions. Consequently, organizations need to meet their duty of care across multiple jurisdictions in different parts of the world.

Travelers, whether international or domestic, can face with unfamiliar situations and environments that have different risk profiles to those of their normal location. Road accidents, disease outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics, and natural disasters, as well as conflict, crime (including cyber and information), cyber threats, terrorism, and political and socially motivated instability, can threaten the safety, security (including information security), and health (including mental health) of travelers, and can adversely affect the outcome of their travel objectives.

LinkedIn article – Improving Your Corporate Travel Risk Management – Why is the New ISO 31030 Guideline Important to Us? By Marc Segal that covers the benefits of ISO 31030


Many EP practitioners work in the Event Security Market. The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS⁴) has created the Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP).

Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP) 

Professionals working in sports safety and security are expected to have a firm grasp of public safety measures and understand how to apply those competencies in the unique environments created by entertainment venues and events. The NCS⁴ established the Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP) program to advance the sports safety and security industry by validating expertise.

NCS⁴ YouTube Video


International Security Driver Association Certification

Lastly, we would be remiss if we did not cover the International Security Driver Association’s (ISDA) Security Driver and Secure Transportation Certifications.

The certification process is not new to the profession. It is part of a 45 + year tradition. During that time, the security community has sent its personnel to be certified by the ISDA process. In fact, it is the market that refers to the ISDA process as a certification.

The ISDA certification represents the classic business model of the market dictating the course of action. The certification is the next step in the evolution of the industry. It recognizes the experience, skill, and knowledge of those who have made a commitment to their profession.

Those ISDA members that qualify are required to complete a certification process. The process follows guidelines defined by credentialing organizations that are recognized in all other industries. The ISDA Driving Skill Standards derive from decades of research conducted by the Society of Automotive EngineersISO, and NHTSA.

The ISDA Certification Process.

The appendix provided the data used to set the skill standards.


Join the ISDA

Do you have an interest in going much deeper into these topics? If so, I invite you to check out the International Security Driver Association’s website and consider joining the membership. Upon entering, you will access the encyclopedia of executive protection and secure transportation – The ISDA Knowledge Center.

For more information on all of the member benefits, head over to isdacenter.org.

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