Advance security is a necessity of all security operations. It can take two forms and may be performed covertly or overtly. It is essential in the planning and operational phases and should be employed whenever the time and manpower are available.
Advance security in the planning phase
When planning an operation, it pays to have someone go to all the locations that you will be visiting, be it a hotel or a different country. Once there, they will need to make a threat assessment of all the potential threats that might occur and how to avoid them and, if necessary, counter them. If you are going to a foreign country, your advance person or team should make sure that the hotels are suitable, select routes between venues, confirm your communications work, and arrange transportation.
Advance security in the operational phase
The job of the advanced person or team in the operational phase is to proceed you by 10 to 20 minutes and check the route and final location which for potential threats and problems. If any threats or problems are detected, the advance person or team will inform you immediately, so that you can go to the secondary plan. For example: We were once working with a client who was going to a potentially hostile South American country, he initially wanted us to supply him with firearms for when he was traveling around the country. But when we made clear the problems that can come with carrying firearms / weapons in a foreign country he began to see the difference between the real world and Hollywood. We organized an advance man for him to arrange his hotel etc. and who would proceed him on his travels in a vehicle that fitted in with those being used by the locals. Our operative would inform the client of any problems or anything suspicious along the routes. When he arrived at a location ahead of the client he would check for any threat surveillance personnel etc. etc. Of course our operative was Latin American in appearance, fluent in Spanish and trained by us.
It is best that all advance work in the operational phase is performed covertly. If a venue or location needs to be checked out, the advance person or team can always claim that you are representing someone else or that they want to hire the venue or stay in the hotel themselves. By performing this duty covertly they will not give away your itinerary. When performing advance security, wear what helps you to blend in with the environment. There is a fixation in the security and business world that personnel must wear a suit, shirt and tie, this is OK in New York or London but in many countries you will just stand out from the crowd and make your self a target. If you look like a western business person everyone will think you have money and worth taking the time to rob. Always try to dress down and blend in with the people around you.