In the operational setting for protection as well as in tactical operations there is a very important concept to understand. It is called “Split Focus”. To illustrate this key concept, let’s employ a protection detail that has been tasked with protecting a corporate client, whom is the CEO of a large oil conglomerate.
Hereinafter, let’s call this CEO “father”. Father has joint custody of his ten-year-old daughter; he often travels with her on business and pleasure as his ex-wife is also a corporate executive and maintains a full schedule thus sharing responsibility and time with daughter.
“Father” must go to Jordan on business and “mother” is presently away on business and so “daughter” will be traveling with father.
You are now the detail leader on a detail and you send a couple of your people to do the advance work. You are cautiously optimistic that all potential threats have been reduced through good planning, routes have been reviewed and contingencies are in place including assets on the ground at destination.
After arriving at Queen Alia International Airport, you have a two-vehicle convoy moving out to the Four Seasons Hotel. Of course, you maintain vigilance on the twenty-mile journey and maintain constant radio contact with the lead vehicle.
Everything is going smooth until you run into a little traffic tie up just before the HSBC bank. Finally you are on Al Basra Street and with the main entrance of the hotel in sight, you start feeling relief knowing you can de-bus with some degree of reassurance that you won’t run into problems in this very upscale area.
As you pull up and keep your charges in the vehicle until you have cleared the area, the concierge and bellman greet you and with a subtle nod from your people assessing, you start moving your client’s into the hotel.
All of sudden the man taking the luggage out of the trunk opens fire on your point person, and the concierge, who is no not really a concierge, rapidly moves on you.
A third attacker comes seemingly out of nowhere, but in actuality had pre-positioned himself as another hotel employee, and is moving quickly toward “father” and “daughter” weapon in hand. Now you have to divide your focus between the two protectees, and in reality this can severely hinder you from making rapid decisions that would benefit both parties.
You must be very careful here that the primary does not offer themselves up or sacrifice because he thinks that will save his daughter. Remember the cell, syndicate, triad, group members seek an advantage, they will be looking to exploit weakness and vulnerability and have done their homework. In a real life situation such as this, the cell could and likely would direct their initial attack on you, while other cell members grab up the daughter to use as a pawn.