Those who have attended our driving programs, or those of our predecessor the Scotti School, are familiar with the term “the science of driving“. It’s a term that has been used by our clients and students for more than four decades to describe the physics-based methodology pioneered by Tony Scotti to objectively evaluate driver performance.
Likewise, those who have attended our Best Practices for the Solo Practitioner course, a training program designed and developed specifically to address the challenges that security professionals face when providing one-on-one protection are familiar with the phrase “the science of protection”, a term which describes the impact certain human factors in conjunction with a variety of environmental factors have on the potential risks a Principal may be exposed to. In that particular program, students gain an understanding of how planning and executing protective operations that consider these factors can reduce those risks to a level more readily managed by one person (i.e. the Solo Practitioner).
Now, by way of VDI’s longstanding commitment to examining every facet of the secure transportation and protection paradigm to ensure our students benefit from leading edge concepts and approaches to getting their Principal from point A to Point B safely and securely, we find ourselves taking a closer look at route planning and doing so from a perspective which is also both objective and scientific. This closer look at an age-old secure transportation/protection planning function was inspired by United Parcel Service, or as they’re more commonly referred to UPS. Yes, the UPS of big brown truck fame. Their approach, which is described in the accompanying article and can best be described as “the science of route planning”, integrates modern technology in the form of mapping software with the science captured in Vehicle Routing Problem Theory first developed by Charles Dantzig in 1959.
Obviously, the original theory is based on considerations that may not be wholly compatible with conventional wisdom on security route planning; at least not at first glance. However, when you look at some of the outcomes UPS achieved in applying that theory, most notably reducing the safety risk posed by turning across or traffic, as well as the potential for minimizing time spent waiting to execute any number of cross traffic turns, thereby decreasing the Principal’s exposure to both potential security risks (history shows us in the event of a security-related incident, one of the adversary’s goals is to stop the car) and further safety risks posed by inattentive drivers – or those following too closely – crashing into the back of the Principal’s car as it comes to or is at a stop, its application to security-oriented route planning is certainly worth exploring further.
Beyond that, and keeping in mind that reputation and brand protection are critical components of a leading edge, holistic EP Program, reductions in mileage driven and a reduced carbon footprint may be attractive metrics as well to some entities. This may be particularly beneficial if (when?) security leaders are challenged to demonstrate the value/benefits executive protection operations bring to an enterprise as a whole, particularly larger operations that provide secure ground transportation to a number of Principals, as is the case with many corporations and private families.
While the science and math involved in Vehicle Routing Problem Theory is fairly complex, with the advent of commercial computerized mapping solutions it is certainly worth further exploring whether it can be made more readily applicable to the needs of the Security Driver, Solo Practitioner, and other security professionals, to improve the route planning process from both a safety, security, and efficiency standpoint. If nothing else, the lessons learned and gains made from an unlikely source – the operator of a fleet of big brown trucks – might very well be applied to that process by forward-thinking practitioners when and where appropriate.
Joseph Autera is the President & CEO of Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute, one of the world’s foremost providers of highly advanced, specialized driver training program. During his 20+ year tenure in the private security profession Mr. Autera has been responsible, at various times, for planning, directing and participating in threat detection, anti-terrorism security, and executive protection in various moderate and high risk locales, ranging from South and Central America, Europe, and both the Middle and Far East. His diverse experience also includes serving as the Director of Global Security for a multinational technology concern, as the Vice President of Global Security Services for one of the world’s leading providers of global risk mitigation and international crisis management services, and as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.