Explorer Travel Security provide counter surveillance and protective surveillance services throughout the globe utilizing a small specialist team of highly experienced ex UK Government surveillance operatives with years of experience in counter-terrorism, espionage and criminal operations. We provide a range of travel risk management solutions for organizations, groups, and individuals. Our planning and implementation of numerous protective and risk management strategies enable us to offer tailored solutions to client’s requirements. We also operate with a specialist low profile executive protection and counter surveillance team.
Mark Deane – Managing Director
Mark Deane, B.A. (Hons) is a travel risk management and security specialist whose experience stems from his role working as an Operational Officer for British Intelligence, serving in a multitude of sensitive operations in counter-terrorism and espionage.
During his career, Mark has planned and managed numerous security and surveillance operations at both a government and corporate level. Within the field of risk management and security, his clients in the corporate world have included a Fortune 10 company, HNWI’s, the oil and gas industry and multinational organizations. He is an experienced team leader and project manager who leverages years of counter-terrorism, security and travel risk management experience to deliver a range of unique services precisely adapted to meet client requirements.
A sound operational knowledge is complemented with his in-depth experience of training and instructing in a range of subjects, having designed and implemented training courses for a clientele that include special forces units, government agencies, multinational organizations, and civilians.
Mark has worked, travelled and trained in six continents of the world and visited over 45 countries, and as Managing Director of Explorer Travel Security Services (ETS) Mark brings a fresh approach to the travel risk management market. He designed the ETS Protective Pyramid system to provide clients tailored security services with a focus on low profile methodology coupled with protective intelligence, accurate security assessments, sound risk management procedure and strong customer relationship management.
Objectives are achieved through his extensive global network and close-knit workforce – all of whom he has worked with personally. Complemented by his passion for travel and adventure Mark ensures We are dedicated to the safety and security of businesses, organisations, and individuals throughout the globe.
Meeting duty of care requirements is a complex process to navigate for any organization with employees who are traveling overseas on company business. Understanding what measures one can take to manage risk to an acceptable standard remains a considerable challenge. Now, more than ever in our volatile world, the question arises: how best to meet this legal obligation?
It is vital to obtain a comprehensive threat overview of all international locations where travel will be conducted. Accurate risk assessments and country security risk reports will provide a more informed and balanced decision-making capability regarding operational security concerns.
Security risk reports provide the organization with a comprehensive understanding of what we refer to as “Ground Truth” – knowing the risks of the area of operations – country, region, and locale. Documents should be user-friendly, relevant and up-to-date. Situations change rapidly and timely intelligence will provide detail on current and future anticipated threats.
Provide personnel with the tools and knowledge to minimize and mitigate personal travel risk. Travel safety and situational awareness is a vital cog in the TRM machine. Risks can be significantly reduced with the sensible application of basic personal security methodology. It is often the most cost-effective and efficient method of significantly improving the safety of individuals or groups abroad. Any training should provide an auditable trail that personnel completed the necessary steps prior to departure to minimize the risk of litigation.
Prior to any travel, the individual traveling should be fully aware and conversant with the environment they will be visiting, as well as the threats and risk of those threats. To avoid the risk of litigation, it is vital that any individual’s travel goes ahead willingly and with “eyes wide open.” To ensure this, any organization should supply, or provide access to a country briefing to an individual or group prior to departure.
The provision of the necessary protective and personal safety support when your travelers are in-country should involve, but not be limited to, two categories:
The biggest risk to any traveler in a foreign country is a vehicular accident. Further, most robberies, abductions, and violent opportunistic crime occur in or near a vehicle. It is therefore essential that journey management plans are prepared and rigorously enforced. Trusted and vetted suppliers of drivers and vehicles must be a priority. A reliance on taxis and ride-share services has led to multiple issues for organizations throughout the world.
Private transportation significantly alleviates risk to individuals abroad. The risks of express kidnapping, robbery, and sexual assault are significantly reduced if travelers do not have to hail taxis from the street or utilize public transport.
In some countries, the use ofExecutive Protectionmay be required to manage individual and group security. Executive protection is no longer a service for the rich and famous. The modern professional “bodyguard” acts in an enabling role, facilitating the movement of executives through the plethora of risks that exist.
The final part of the GEBIR principal is contingency planning. If an emergency incident occurs police and national emergency medical services are often inadequate, overwhelmed, or non-existent. There must be a pre-identified and rehearsed service in place to ensure the effective and timely response to an emergency.
There are Three Components to Response:
1.Communication– The benchmark is to be able to identify the exact location of your employees and be able to effectively communicate with them within 15-20 minutes of an incident occurring.
2.Crisis Management– Being able to react immediately and effectively. This requires the design and implementation of plans and processes, to be complemented by the introduction and training of a crisis management team.
3.Emergency Evacuation or Hibernation Plans– These should be a structured and practical guide for the organization to identify and respond to executing a full or partial evacuation of personnel from operational locations, or hibernate in-situ until the situation changes.
The moral arguments for a solid TRM plan are obvious, but there is now a growing recognition both in the courts and with potential plaintiffs that breaches of duty of care occurring abroad can be heard in U.S. courts. The number of cases being presented has increased, and employment lawyers are particularly alert to the issue.
Hostile surveillance detection is one of the few security techniques that preempts danger. As the name suggests it is the art of identifying an individual or group that is attempting to obtain intelligence by placing your client under surveillance. Its main advantage as a security tool is that it is proactive rather than reactive.
The global kidnap industry is booming and no longer is the focus predominantly on Latin America. It is prevalent throughout the world and for a successful kidnap, hostiles will normally conduct some degree of pre-attack intelligence gathering. The early and covert identification of this intelligence gathering by security teams can significantly minimize the risk of kidnap.
To provide a professional security service it is imperative that security teams and the ‘at-risk’ individuals themselves learn how to identify the signs that may precede an attack. By identifying a threat early, and pro-actively working in unison to increase awareness, the risk of a successful kidnap is drastically reduced. The preemptive action and early identification of possible hostile intent allow a security team to remove the client from danger or deter and disrupt the potential attackers.
Scoping for Opportunity
Why would kidnappers put a person or group under surveillance prior to an attack? What would the hostile surveillance teams be trying to achieve? Business executives when planning strategy utilizes the SWOT analysis model. This same model can be engineered to help identify what hostile individuals or groups will be looking for.
By identifying a target’s Strengths and Weaknesses, the hostiles will then be able to identify their own Opportunities and Threats. This intelligence-gathering model will help them answer the following questions:
Can we kidnap our target?
How can we kidnap our target?
When could we kidnap our target?
Should we kidnap this target?
Point four identifies that the hostiles may want to carry out the kidnap but realize that it is a hard target and therefore not worth the risk, OR as can be seen in the case study below, they may just adapt their attack and exploit the weaknesses they have identified.
In March 1978, Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was being driven to work in a two-car motorcade in Rome, accompanied by five bodyguards. His Motorcade was ambushed and eleven members of the Red Brigade terrorist group ambushed him. As the motorcade approached a stop sign a car pulled in front and stopped suddenly. Moro’s car was following too close and struck the car, then Moro’s follow vehicle, also traveling too close, rammed into Moro’s car pinning his vehicle with no chance of immediate escape.
Two men got out of the blocking vehicle and shot with pistols through the front side windows of Moro’s car killing his driver and bodyguard. Concurrently, a second attack element consisting of four men dressed in Air Italia uniforms that were stood on the pavement as if waiting for a bus pulled weapons from their flight bags and proceeded to fire at the remaining bodyguards. A third attack element of two terrorists jumped out from behind bushes (possibly within a car) and pulled Moro from the car and put him into a waiting vehicle. The terrorists then escaped with preplanned and strategically positioned vehicles.
The whole operation lasted no more than 30 seconds, involved eleven terrorists who fired between 80 and 90 rounds and killed five bodyguards. Yet the build-up and preparation were far more detailed and time-consuming. Through prolonged covert surveillance and potentially a mix of human intelligence sources the terrorists had identified the strengths and weaknesses of Moro and his security team and utilized these to focus on the opportunities and threats.
The terrorists identified a pattern of life and common route that Moro and his team used. They had also noted that the drivers of both his motorcade drove too close to each other and tailgated other vehicles and the Red Brigade planned to exploit that. They also noted that many airline personnel lived in the area of attack so adopted the air uniforms for cover. The terrorists did several other things that would have been gained through intelligence gathering operations. They slashed the tires of the flower vendor whose normal place of work was near the attack site, telephone lines were overloaded during the attack and vehicles were positioned for a getaway.
There are many conspiracy theories surrounding his capture and detention, whatever the true story, fifty-five days after his abduction Aldo Moro was found shot to death in the trunk of a car in Central Rome. It is interesting to note that according to later terrorist declarations, in the months before the kidnapping they had instead envisaged the possibility of kidnapping another leader, Giulio Andreotti. This was abandoned once they deemed that Andreotti’s police protection was too strong.
Sourced from: Just2Seconds: Using Time And Space To Defeat Assassins. 2008, Gavin De Becker, Tom Taylor and Jeff Marquart.
This case study identifies how focused surveillance can be utilized to identify and exploit weaknesses and enable efficient and successful attack planning, even against a defended ‘hard’ target such as a Former Italian Prime Minister.
Just as the Red Brigade terrorist group did in the case study, hostiles will be trying to gather as much intelligence on the target’s pattern of life as possible, asking themselves the following questions and many more:
Is there security, are they aware, are they armed, are they any good?
How do they travel and by what means? Do they drive, what do they drive, is it armored?
Do they have good travel security in place?
What routes do they take to work, events, school? Do they vary routes? Are they forced to take the same routes?
Do they have a family, is there family an easier target?
Are they creatures of habit? Is there a pattern forming? If so what is the pattern? What are the weaknesses?
Do they have employees, can we use them, can they provide us information, can we corrupt them?
The hostiles, however, must have the capability to gather this information, it cannot just be plucked from the air. Where intelligence gathering and surveillance operations come into play, there are always limitations.
Capability and Limitations
The quality and type of hostile surveillance can vary greatly, it may be quick and basic observations by untrained and opportunistic gangs looking for the best time to strike, or it could be professional, criminal organizations carrying out effective and focused intelligence gathering prior to a kidnap or assault.
There are of course a number of potential limitations to a hostile surveillance team, these will affect the quality and capability of the surveillance. Examples of limitations are:
Resources – Human and Technical
All the above factors will determine how capable a group is of carrying out effective and covert surveillance without detection, whilst still obtaining all the necessary information.
Many terrorist and criminal organizations may not have the technical and practical expertise to carry out a high level of surveillance that is required to defeat good anti and counter surveillance procedure. They may only have one or two people with limited skills and resources to observe their target compared to the ten or twenty that a government team has available.
Numbers do not necessarily mean results though, a team of three well-trained surveillance operatives with time and resources would be able to glean a surprising amount of intelligence, perhaps even within a few days. Specifically, when dealing with high-risk clients it must always be taken into account that a hostile group may in-fact have a good capability and a small professional team with time, patience and resources.
The large range of limiting factors will, however, normally provide the security transportation team a much greater chance of identifying hostile surveillance, but two major factors must be taken into consideration. The first is that terrorist and criminal organizations normally have time and dedication on their side. They can pop in and pop out, they can choose their times and methods, they can also utilize human sources and agents. All the time slowly building up their intelligence picture. The second and most important to acknowledge and understand though is that accurately and covertly identifying surveillance is far from easy.
Skills and Drills
There are two factors that must be taken into account when dealing with hostile surveillance detection:
The skills, experience, knowledge, and resources of the person or group carrying out the hostile surveillance.
2. The skills, experience, knowledge, and resources of the person or group carrying out the anti and counter surveillance.
If there is a major gap between either of these then one side will falter.
Whilst attempting to identify hostile surveillance it is important that tactics are undertaken to a high standard, but also covertly. This is just one of the reasons why intensive training and specialist counter surveillance teams should always be considered, especially for high-risk clientele. Whatever the level of hostile surveillance being conducted, whether it be rudimentary or highly professional it is important that hostile surveillance does not realize that anti and counter-surveillance measures are in place and being utilized. There are two main reasons:
If hostile surveillance is unaware of the counter-measures in place they are far more likely to make a mistake, use sloppy tradecraft or become complacent and therefore be identified easier and quicker.
If hostile surveillance becomes aware that they have been spotted it can lead to a number of possible actions including, impulsive behavior and an increased risk of action or attack. But, and this is more likely, they may just take a step back to then take two steps forward in the future, with better skills and resources. As we mentioned dedicated and professional teams will spot poor anti and counter surveillance early, they will drop out and only come back when they feel it is safe to do so.