Close protection is an important aspect of any business or government job. A close protection officer (or close protection operator) is a sort of internal security officer, government police officer, or military service member that guards a specific individual or a small group of individuals for the purpose of protecting that person. In other words, if a private citizen were to rob a bank and then tell the guard he had a gun and would shoot him if he did not get out of the bank, the close protection officer would do exactly that – and then kill the robber if he got away. If a close protection officer was protecting a president, he would be protecting the president from assassination. A close protection officer protecting an FBI director or high-level government official would also do the same, just to be safe.
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The duty of a close protection officer varies from job to job, but they all perform the same functions. Essentially, they are there to make sure a person, particularly a VIP, does not get harmed by another person who is also trying to protect that VIP. It is an incredibly difficult job, but it is also a necessary job. The job of a bodyguard can be a little bit easier if the security detail has a good bodyguard with extensive experience and is well-trained, as most VIPs will have several bodyguards under their wing, each with different skills and strengths.
Bodyguards are generally guards that have undergone advanced military training, especially since the September 11th attacks. A close protection officer in the US has to be a commissioned officer, although in other countries, the armed forces may have differing requirements. While all armed forces require their male guards to be fit and in good health, their female guards must be in top physical condition, as they have to protect women in potentially dangerous situations. The skills bodyguard needs are extensive, including extensive knowledge of criminal law and tactics, concealment techniques, self-defense, communication, investigation and many others.