Icon – Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry. Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride. No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.
Agent Name: Douglas Belton
Company Name: Luminary Executive Services LLC
Home city: Miami, FL
What is your background in the Protection industry?
My background in the industry began with my enlistment into the U.S. Army National Guard in 2006 and is rooted in field-based protective intelligence. Behavior Pattern Recognition has been a critical skill in most of the work I’ve done in this industry and has proven its value on multiple military and private sector protective assignments in the U.S., Afghanistan, Israel and other countries. The National Guard allowed me the flexibility to train hard and gain vital experience in my field when on orders while pursuing more lucrative opportunities to gain experience in the private sector when off orders. One of my assignments was as a plain-clothes counter terrorism security operator. The project was the first security program adapted from the Israeli airport authorities’ security methodology to fit the needs of one of the United State’s’ largest privately held tourist destinations. I hold a B.A. in international business and cross-cultural communications which has proven helpful in understanding many of the strategic complexities facing the individuals and organizations I’ve worked for.
I know you speak several different languages, how have you incorporated that into your “professional toolbox”?
Ah… languages. The ability to speak the language used in your protected environment is huge! The biggest advantage for me has been as a marketing tool. The second biggest advantage is of course the ability to more efficiently facilitate my principle’s movements abroad. I list these advantages in this order because usually the second advantage is a direct consequence of the first. Anyone who has attempted to learn a second language as an adult can attest to its difficulty. For this reason I always recommend to the extent possible complete immersion in the target language. This may not be an option for everyone but in my opinion 4 months of complete language immersion is easily worth 4 years of university study where you may only work on your language skills 5-6 hours/week. Another important factor regarding language acquisition in the protective industry is deciding in which language to focus your time and effort. It’s always a good idea to look hard at why, and in what way will a particular language benefit your career. For example, you might already be working a lot in a foreign country and learning the language would enhance your value to new and existing clients. At the same time if you don’t have many foreign contacts and want to work more internationally, learning the language of a historic or emerging security hot spot is always an excellent way to take that next strategic step in your career’s development.
With respect to Operational Security, can you share a bit of one of your best experiences in the industry so far?
One of my best experiences so far was while working a counter-terrorism assignment. I had identified behavior in an individual in my protected environment that indicated possible harmful intentions. After initiating a short conversation with this individual in order to confirm or refute my suspicions I had determined through body language analysis the person was being deceitful with me. After following up with my concerns in accordance with S.O.P. it was discovered that this person was a viable and veritable terrorist threat and dealt with accordingly.
You work abroad quite a bit, what are some of the differences between providing services domestically versus internationally?
Internationally you have to be much more spun up on local ways of doing things. One of the major pitfalls operators working internationally is assuming things are done the same in one country as they are in another. This issue runs the gambit from bureaucracy to inter-personal communication. When tasked with protecting your Principal from physical harm and embarrassment the last thing you want to do is be the cause of either one.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
I wish operators would stop writing “Tell-all” books. Every time one of these books or articles hits the stands it degrades a little of the advancement the EP profession has made in the public mind.
To someone coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give?
Besides the big ones like train hard and network, it’s also good to be a specialist in something. Always keep your eye out for an underserved niche in the market which is potentially lucrative and intersects well with your natural talents, skills and interests. This can be helpful in keeping you motivated through times of discouragement. Don’t give up or take it personal if no one is throwing you a bone and putting you on a Detail. Get comfortable selling yourself to decision makers and get the business yourself!
Personal Protection Specialist Doug Belton can be reached at (786) 383-3123 Or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Edit: Read the excellent commentary this feature has generated on the North American Bodyguard Association Facebook Page by clicking HERE.