PACE Project management, tactical and strategic success, personal achievement, and mission accomplishment all require a well-thought-out plan. In the executive protection community, we recognize the need for a good advance and a sound planning process.
The advance validates, invalidates, or may significantly impact our primary plan. The security team may need to "adjust fire" based on what the advance uncovers prior to the principal's arrival.
The Planning Process 101
To aid your planning process and consider all options, the military community created the PACE acronym, which stands for:
- Primary plan,
- Alternate plan,
- Contingency plan, and
- Exigent/Emergency plan
PACE planning is a risk and failure mitigation planning process. Your Primary plan should always be your best option. In fact, your entire team should know the plan, work the plan, and believe in it. Of course, the plan should include input from everyone involved in the operation.
Your Alternate plan is your "Plan B." The Alternate plan would immediately go into operation if "Plan A" fails due to changes in the operation, the venue, or perhaps equipment failure. Sometimes the alternate plan may be part of your surveillance avoidance routine.
Contingency plans can be numerous and are the answer to the many "what If" scenarios your team can imagine and plan for. For instance, you may be en route to a venue when the mission comm plan fails, and you need to go to secondary comms. You'll still continue with the primary plan but switch to an alternate comm plan, ideally a subset of your primary plan.
The Way Out
Finally, you need to have an Exigent/Emergency plan. This may be an immediate evacuation of your principal to avoid a specific risk and threat. Or, it may be because five minutes ago, your world suddenly crashed down around you due to an earthquake.
For example, in 2010, my team conducted normal operations according to the plan when an earthquake devastated Haiti. There we were with no comms, power, or way to get information from outside our compound. All of our primary comms were gone. Yet, somehow, FB Messenger was still working off of some open WiFi that still worked.
We hadn't planned on Messenger being part of our plan, but you have to work a solution with whatever you have. So we sent our local team members out on scouting missions and told them to go out for ten minutes in all directions and then come back to us. This gave us an impression of just how bad things were and some solid route info for planning our return to residence.
After gathering all the facts we could, we worked out a PACE plan to get our people from work to their compound. PACE planning has proven to be a simple, easily understood, and communicated process.