Zambian Officials Brave 'Explosions' in RSO Lusaka's Protection Training Course
The Regional Security Office (RSO) at U.S. Embassy Lusaka, Zambia, conducted VIP and bodyguard training for 40 Zambian police and security officials—most of whom protect the president of Zambia.
The five-day workshop was based on the curriculum for Dignitary Protection taught at the Diplomatic Security Training Center. It was modified for Zambia’s threat level and operating environment, such as working with right-hand drive armored vehicles and open-top follow vehicles.
The embassy’s assistant regional security officer (ARSO) led the course that took place at the Lilayi Police Training College of the Zambia Police Service. The ARSO, who previously served on the U.S. Secretary of State’s protective detail, made certain the training was as realistic as possible.
Despite the challenges of frequent power outages, inclement weather, and working on a shoestring budget, participants were briefed on everything that a newly minted Diplomatic Security (DS) special agent would learn about close protection principles. The training culminated in a full day of practical exercises in which students assumed the various roles of a standard protective detail and were required to safely navigate their protectee through several venues, meetings, and crowds.
To add realism and perspective, the ARSO enlisted the help of role players and trainers, including the embassy’s regional security officer, another ARSO, and two of the embassy’s Marine Security Guards (MSG). Amid occasional explosions, hostile “protestors,” and the crack of gunfire, the students performed admirably in implementing their training principles.
The regional security officer said, “The skill level demonstrated by these students was impressive, especially given the condensed instruction period. It often takes agents weeks, if not months, to become fully proficient in the various protective security roles and detail functions.”
Silas Musenge, senior superintendent of the Lilayi Police Training College, referred to this training as “crucial capacity building,” and proof that the U.S. Embassy is, “committed to cooperation and the professionalization of the Zambian law enforcement apparatus.”
The embassy’s regional security office plans to deliver several more workshops in 2016 aimed at giving the Zambian government the skills to build its own curriculum for dignitary protection. Added the regional security officer, “We also hope to provide advanced training in the elements of VIP protection to our most recent workshop graduates, and training for others in active shooter response principles later this year.”