Executive's Guide to Personal Security, 2nd Edition, second edition by David Katz, Ilan Caspi

Executive’s Guide to Personal Security




David S. Katz

Ilan Caspi







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To my writing partner, colleague, and friend, Ilan Caspi.

For my late parents, Beatrice and Alvin.

For my beautiful wife, Galina, and my sons, Daniel, Michael, and Benjamin.

For my in‐laws, Nelli and Yefim, and especially for my grandmother‐in‐law, Sofya, for making me feel like a grandson again.

– David S. Katz

To my writing partner, colleague, and friend, David Katz.

For my parents, Etti and Yossi, for all your support and love.

For my brother, Amit, and my sisters, Nira and Hagit—while our paths may be different, the bond between us will remain forever strong.

For my daughters, Ella and Maya, and my son, Jacob, for giving me new meaning to life and adding endless joy to each day.

– Ilan Caspi


David S. Katz is a former senior Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the chief executive officer of Global Security Group, Inc., a company providing protective and investigative services, security and fire/life safety consulting, and highly specialized training for both private sector and government clients. He is an expert in conducting complex domestic and international investigations, executing high‐risk arrests, conducting undercover and surveillance operations small unit and defensive tactics, preparing security assessments, conducting intelligence analysis, and planning large‐scale tactical operations. He is a nationally recognized expert in active shooter response and prevention.

David is a federally certified firearms and tactical instructor who spent four years as a Primary Firearms Instructor at the FBI/DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where he taught firearms and tactics to several thousand federal agents, state and local law enforcement officers, SWAT teams, military personnel, and foreign military and law enforcement counterparts. A recognized authority in law enforcement arrest tactics, he has provided training to police units and tactical teams around the world including the Israeli General Security Agency, the New York City Police Department Emergency Services Unit, and the Marine detail assigned to HMX‐1, the president's official helicopter.

David was also the DEA liaison to the Israeli Secret Service, developing a cooperative relationship with their field agents and training staff. He has provided advanced tactical firearms training to Israeli General Security Agency (Shin Bet) instructors in Israel and firearms and tactical training to the Diplomatic Security Service Agents and U.S. Marines guarding the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. David also observed and participated in training given to Shin Bet security officers, EL AL Israel Airlines security agents, and operators from elite Israeli counterterror units.

David's background, skills, and training have made him a highly sought‐after security consultant. He has prepared the risk/threat/vulnerability assessments and created the emergency action plans for more than 100 commercial properties, including many of the most prestigious in New York City. His investigative expertise is in great demand in the private sector, and he has conducted and supervised many high‐profile investigations for numerous commercial clients and well‐known law firms. He has testified as an expert witness as both a law enforcement officer and subsequently in private practice in high‐profile federal civil lawsuits involving hundreds of millions of dollars in prospective damages.

David is perhaps best known for his expertise with respect to active shooter response and prevention. During his tenure at Quantico, he developed lesson plans for teaching law enforcement officers how to quickly and dynamically enter the scene of an active shooter situation and effectively engage the shooter. After leaving government service, David utilized his knowledge with respect to active shooter response in order to create the Active Shooter Response Training program, widely regarded as the most comprehensive, action‐oriented active shooter response program in the nation. A strong proponent of proactive preventive measures, David developed the Active Shooter Threat Recognition program using his extensive experience as well as research from the nation's top law enforcement agencies. The program identified a number of commonalities shared by active shooters and other perpetrators of incidents of mass violence. He has personally provided this training to hundreds of clients including Fortune 50 firms, corporations, universities, private and public schools, religious organizations including mega‐churches and the nation's largest and most high‐profile synagogues, hospitals, government and law enforcement agencies, and residential properties.

David is also directly involved with assisting the Fire Department of the City of New York in the creation of the active shooter response protocols that are taught to New York City's fire and life safety directors. At the request of that department, he allowed some of the material he developed to be included in the study materials for the FDNY Active Shooter & Medical Emergency Preparedness course.

He has also provided corporate Workplace Violation Recognition & Prevention training to corporate clients across the country. This program stressed the importance of establishing a “zero‐tolerance” policy for incidents of workplace violence as well as the development of proper reporting and documentation procedures for all such incidents. The program also teaches how to deescalate conflicts and the role of law enforcement and private security in situations requiring a more robust response. In addition, David has provided security during numerous “hostile terminations” and is familiar with the measures required to prevent such terminations from leading to violence.

David is the author of articles on safety while traveling abroad and has written approximately 50 articles on emergency planning, personal safety, investigative practice, protective equipment, terrorism, and other related topics. He has lectured throughout the world and has provided security and safety training to senior executives and the executive protection personnel of some of the world's leading corporations. David is a frequent guest on nationally broadcast television and radio programs including Fox News, CNN, and others. He has a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law.

Ilan Caspi is a business executive. For the last fifteen years, he has worked with senior management in large corporations to solve complex business challenges and improve business performance. Prior to his business career in the private sector, Ilan served as a member of the Israeli General Security Agency (Shin Bet), the Israeli Diplomatic Security Service, and EL AL Israel Airlines. He is an expert in executive protection, threat assessments, and developing comprehensive security protocols for international organizations.

Before joining the Israeli intelligence and security community, he served in a combat unit in the Israeli Air Force and participated in many antiterrorist operations. During his service, he received the President of Israel's “Most Distinguished Soldier” award.

As a member of Shin Bet, Ilan served in the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel, where he specialized in the field of executive and dignitary protection. With EL AL Israel Airlines, he acquired extensive operational practice in the field of airport security management and civil aviation. He conducted security surveys at various airports and served as an on‐board security agent.

Ilan applied his knowledge and skills in the international arena as a member of the Israeli Diplomatic Security Service. He conducted vulnerability assessments of international facilities and updated security protocols. During his tenure at the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, he reviewed the embassy's existing security protocols, implemented improvements, and trained diplomats on personal security awareness while traveling and working abroad. As an expert in radical Islamic terrorist organizations, Ilan routinely analyzed intelligence data and formulated response plans to meet identified threats. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) in Political Science and International Affairs from the Open University of Israel in Tel Aviv. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business (Dean's Honor List, 2007) with a concentration in Strategy, Marketing, and Finance.


IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN SIXTEEN YEARS since we wrote the first edition of this book. At the time, less than two years after the attacks of 9/11, we had both separated from service to our respective countries and entered the private sector. The country still was in a heightened state of alert. Civilians working in the private sector had been deliberately targeted, and companies and individuals were forced to reconsider the way they viewed security. Our initial goal when we wrote the first edition of this book was to address the changing security needs of private companies in the period immediately following the attacks of 9/11. A good portion of the first edition, therefore, provided measures to address the concerns posed by acts of terrorism or potential acts of terrorism on U.S. soil and abroad.

In the years after the book was published, we consulted and trained hundreds of companies, government agencies, law enforcement agents, private security personnel, and executives. Ilan received his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He has worked as a management consultant and is currently a senior executive with a major international company. David founded Global Security Group, Inc., a firm providing a number of services including personal protection, fire and life safety consulting, planning and drills, private investigations, and highly specialized training. It was this private sector experience that provided us both with a clearer view into the current state of security in corporate America and what is needed to continue to move toward the goal of greater safety and security in the workplace. Although the threat of terrorism will continue to be an issue that can potentially affect the private sector, this book focuses more on the more common safety and security concerns that companies face each day.

Today businesses face a much more complex set of security challenges than ever before. Whether your company is relatively small and limited to a particular city or region or is a major international corporation with a significant international footprint, you must remain cognizant of the potential safety and security issues facing your organization and employees and how they are changing. Concerns about workplace violence, active shooter incidents (usually a result of unaddressed workplace violence issues), intellectual property and asset protection, and other issues such as health emergencies, weather‐related hazards, natural disasters, travel safety and overseas political upheavals, or localized violence are more pressing. Failure to address these issues in the workplace could lead to significant or even catastrophic results for your business and employees.

In this second edition, we leverage our combined experiences from our careers working in government service and in the private sector to teach security personnel, corporate executives, and employees how to recognize and prepare for the real threats facing ordinary individuals and companies in today's world. This book provides the type of information necessary to empower you with the knowledge to protect your business, yourself, and others. This knowledge, formerly provided only to government security professionals, is made available to you in this book in a format suitable for the corporate environment. You will learn how the fear and stress experienced during a dangerous incident causes changes in cognitive ability, perception, and the ability to make critical decisions and how those effects can be mitigated. You will learn how to detect the warning signs of a potentially violent employee and what to do to prevent violence from occurring. You will learn the survival strategies to employ in the event you are caught in an active shooter incident. If you are an executive responsible for the safety of your employees and corporate assets, you will learn how to secure your employees and your facility, how to formulate emergency protocols, and how to manage the response to a fire or non‐fire emergency. If you plan to travel abroad or are an expatriate working for your company in another country, this book will arm you with the necessary knowledge to take the actions that will enhance your physical safety and security as well as the safety of your family and coworkers. Finally, if you are an executive responsible for corporate security and life safety issues, this book will provide you with the knowledge to run a successful security operation and establish yourself as a valuable asset within the corporate business environment.

David S. Katz
Ilan Caspi
September 2019


THERE IS A FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLE that applies to any serious discussion of security and it is this: Unless you are committed to developing a security mind‐set, you will not be able to make use of most of the information that is provided in this book. The security mind‐set is far more valuable than any technology or security procedure or protocol we can put in place; the human factor is by far the most critical element when it comes to addressing security and life safety concerns.

As you read this book, each chapter stresses a different aspect of security that is designed to greatly enhance overall safety, whether you are at work, at home, or traveling abroad. Each of the recommendations provided has been proven over the years to be effective in improving your overall security posture. However, unless you learn how to pay attention to your surroundings and identify threats before they materialize, very little of the information contained herein will be of use to you. The following is a short synopsis to what we are going to cover in this book.

Chapter 1: Developing a Security Mind‐set. Your brain is your most valuable tool with respect to personal security and overall life safety so we begin by discussing how to develop the same mental skills that well‐trained security professionals have. This chapter makes the case that developing proper observational skills and learning to draw the right conclusions from those observations is the single most important thing anyone can do to become less vulnerable to harm. We explain in detail the effects that stress and fear experienced during a critical incident can have on your cognitive and perceptual ability. Ideally, the goal is to teach you to recognize dangerous situations before they occur; avoiding a dangerous situation is always better been trying to extricate yourself from danger once it has begun.

Chapter 2: Planning for Emergencies in the Office. How do you handle an emergency or emerging incident in the office? What if an employee, client, vendor, or guest has a medical emergency? What about a fire in your building or on your floor? There are also many non‐fire‐related emergencies, ranging from severe weather, to accidents, to acts of terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction, that can threaten your safety. Do you currently have procedures in place to handle these types of incidents, or would you be forced to try to respond appropriately during a critical incident without a plan and while under extreme stress? What about protecting your business? Are there actions related to business continuity you would need to take in the event there is an evacuation or in‐building relocation? How would the closure of your office or facility for an extended period affect your business?

In this chapter we teach you how to develop plans on how to respond in the event of an emergency to ensure the safety of your employees, the protection of your assets, and the continuity of your business.

Chapter 3: Receipt of Suspicious Mail and Packages and Bomb Threats. How would you handle a bomb threat at the office? Would you immediately evacuate the building or wait for the police to arrive and tell you what to do? The chance that your place of business will receive a letter or package bomb is extremely remote, but many businesses will have to deal with such a threat at one time or another so prior preparation is a necessity. Are most threats legitimate? No, most such threats are intended to disrupt your daily business activities. Does that change what your response would be?

How would you handle the receipt of a suspicious letter or package? What about an unattended item left in the office that no one can identify? What would you do if one of your employees reported receiving a letter that was leaking some sort of powder or liquid and had a strong or noxious smell?

In this chapter we cover all these issues and delve into some motivations that drive threats made to the office. These types of incidents always generate a law enforcement response, but the steps you take before the first responders arrive are critically important and are discussed in great detail in this chapter.

Chapter 4: Violence in the Workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, homicide is the third leading cause of death in the workplace. Sometimes the threat is external; retail businesses, for example, have a risk of being robbed. However, in many other cases, the threat of harm to employees comes from other employees. Employee‐generated violence in the workplace is a frightening prospect for any company, particularly because, absent the creation of the appropriate reporting system, it can be difficult to detect and address before an act of violence occurs. Companies must establish a zero‐tolerance policy toward violence in the workplace and exercise vigilance in order to deal with aggressive, belligerent, and potentially violent employees. This chapter analyzes the risk posed by violent individuals in the workplace and suggests appropriate preventive measures to maintain a safe environment in the office. The chapter also addresses how to deal with acts of domestic violence affecting employees, as such violence often finds its way to the workplace.

Chapter 5: Surviving an Active Shooter Incident. FBI statistics reveal that the number of active shooter incidents is increasing. These events are unpredictable, chaotic, and happen very quickly. Organizations can never completely eliminate the risk of such an attack occurring, but they may take many actions before an attack in order to try and prevent it, during an attack to mitigate potential damage and loss of life, and after an attack to return to normal operations as quickly as possible. This chapter reviews active shooter incidents, particularly with respect to such incidents in the workplace, and provides information needed to survive an active shooter incident in the event one occurs.

Chapter 6: Personal and Business Travel Security. The type of business a company performs and the parts of the world where the work is done can also create security issues. International companies may have to deal with potential threats to their overseas business travelers and expatriate employees. Companies and their employees located in politically volatile areas may get caught up in local or regional conflicts or even terrorist attacks. In this chapter we provide valuable information on how to prepare for a trip and how to conduct yourself while overseas. This chapter addresses residing abroad as well.

Chapter 7: Travel to High‐Risk Areas. Most criminal or terrorist operations are not conducted at random. Virtually all terrorist or criminal attacks are preceded by a pre‐operational stage where intelligence is gathered about the intended target. Following a target in order to learn his or her daily routine is one of the most critical elements of this stage, and the objective is to identify a place and/or time where the target is most vulnerable. In this chapter we discuss how surveillance is performed in order to help you understand how to utilize countersurveillance techniques to detect whether you are being watched or followed. You learn the principles of route selection to reduce vulnerability while driving and recognize the importance of knowing the location of the nearest safe haven. If you are required to travel to potentially dangerous areas or are a high‐profile individual or a security professional responsible for protecting someone, this chapter will be of extreme interest to you.

Chapter 8: Hijacking and Hostage Survival. The subjects of how to respond during a hijacking and how to survive a hostage situation are extremely complex. There are several schools of thought on what to do if you become embroiled in either or both of these situations. Because currently there is little consensus on the best ways to respond, in this chapter we share the different approaches. We discuss the pros and cons of the various approaches in order to familiarize you with the prevailing expert opinions on this topic.

Chapter 9: Espionage and Fraud Protection: The Executive Perspective. Theft of intellectual property and fraud constitute major sources of revenue and inventory loss to businesses. Counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets together represent an “economic loss” to the U.S. economy of between $225 billion and $600 billion annually, according to the findings of a 2017 research report from the bi‐partisan IP Commission, The Theft of American Intellectual Property: Reassessments of the Challenge and United States Policy. Despite knowing this, businesses are still making the same mistakes. Can we protect the company's most critical information from falling into the wrong hands?

Executives are often the targets of scams, both simple and complicated. Can anything be done to reduce this risk? In this chapter we cover basic fraud prevention and protection of intellectual property.

Chapter 10: Executive Protection. Protecting an individual is a very different discipline from securing a facility. Top executives can't be locked down. They are necessarily mobile, and that mobility can expose executives to a variety of risks. Over the last sixteen years, we have had the opportunity to provide security and close protection to business executives, A‐list celebrities, ambassadors, political figures, and dignitaries. We have also trained the personnel who protect some of the world's most well‐known and high‐profile businessmen and ‐women. What we have learned is that there is no more widely misunderstood security role in private industry than the role of the executive protection professional. For some executives, a security detail simply means that they have a driver who is a former police officer and is armed. For many in the entertainment industry, the security team seems to be valued by the pound; agents are extremely large, physically imposing types whose job is to simply act as mobile bouncers for the client. This chapter describes what an executive protection program can and should be.

Chapter 11: Running a Successful Security Business Function. Over the last decade there has been a marked increase in the number of companies that have centralized their security functions and established a new role called a chief security officer or head of security. This individual is the person responsible for overall corporate security, which includes the physical security and safety of employees, facilities, assets, and protection of information. In recent years, the role has expanded to include additional related areas, such as business continuity planning, and loss and fraud prevention. This position is highly challenging, and success requires a lot more than just technical knowledge. The role demands leadership, strong business acumen, and management skills. Many in this role come from a law enforcement or military background but lack business experience and an understanding of corporate culture. This issue may be problematic as they are faced with competing for budget dollars and must make the case for increased funding for the security budget against seasoned business veterans in other divisions seeking the same funds. Learning to navigate in the corporate environment is a new skill, and this chapter provides you with the knowledge you need to develop, manage, and run a successful corporate security operation.

Chapter 12: Breaking into a Security Career in the Private Sector. We decided to add this chapter to recount our experiences in making the transition from government service to the civilian market. Over the last fifteen years we have learned a lot and realized that the lessons we learned would be helpful for individuals currently working in law enforcement, the military, or a government agency with a security function who are preparing to embark on a new career in private industry. A lot can be done before you submit your retirement papers, and this chapter provides the kind of guidance we wish we had when we made the transition. It also helps managers and executives understand the level of talent that is available from the public sector and how they can incorporate that talent into their business.

Chapter 13: Carrying a Firearm for Personal Protection. We each have been asked more times than we can count to give our opinion as to whether an executive should consider carrying a firearm for personal protection. In this final chapter, we address this question in great detail and give a detailed and comprehensive answer to this very difficult question.

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