Bodyguarding: Formations

Formations are the physical deployment of multiple team members in a predetermined, yet evolving pattern that is designed to protect the principal. There are various different formations that are used depending on the situation and other outside factors. This post is designed to identify and give you a brief introduction to some of these various formations.

Before we dive into these different formations, lets first define what “Escort Formations” are:

Escort Formations are simply formations that are designed to protect the principal while providing maximum body cover and these escort formations can vary in name and structure. Let’s take a look below at some of the more common escort formations in the industry:

  • Lone Formation
  • Sweep Formation
  • Diamond Formation With No Advance
  • Diamond Formation With Advance
  • Box Formation With No Advance
  • Box Formation With Advance
  • Box Formation: (Air Craft – Wheels Down)
  • Box Formation: (Air Craft – Wheels Up)

Now, lets dive a bit deeper into each of these formations.

Lone Formation: The lead is the only bodyguard to escort the principal (Most over utilized and under protected formation) The bodyguard is positioned about 2 paces offset (right or left) and behind the principal.

Sweep Formation: The principal is escorted by a 2-Man Team (Includes lead & Add’l Bodyguard and is utilized in low risk operations only)┬áThe lead is positioned in front of the principal, approximately 2 paces in front of and 2 paces left or right. Bodyguard #2 is b 2 paces behind the principal and has to be ready to engage the threat.

Diamond Formation With No Advance: This is a more secure formation that is typically used for medium to high risk principals. In this formation, the lead is positioned 2 steps in front of the principal and 2 steps to the right or left. The primary duties of the lead include protecting the principal and directing the teams movement. This formation can also transition into a close up formation, providing the principal with greater body coverage from the threat.

Diamond Formation With Advance: During the escort phase, this formation is identical to the regular diamond formation. The difference being, now the team is working with previously gathered intelligence including and planning of the advance, who has already secured and scouted the area. The advance serves to minimize off record movements.

Box Formation With No Advance: This is another common “medium to high risk” formation. It’s considered a weaker formation when compared to the Diamond formation, due to lack of body cover for principal in the rear position, but it allows your team to easily transition into the Diamond formation as the principal moves to more open spaces. For example, this may be a formation a team lead calls out when the principal is exiting a limo and moving into a more open area.

Box Formation With Advance: Similar to the traditional box formation, the difference is that the team is working with previously gathered intelligence and planning of the advance who has previously scouted and secured the area. The advance is focused on minimizing off record movements.

Box Formation (Air Craft Wheels Down): This is utilized when the principal is using air travel. Your team should advance in a box formation while the principal is getting off the plain and as they are moving away from the aircraft your team can easily transition into the diamond formation.The lead should always be focused on the principal. The driver should have the vehicle running and facing the predetermined route as the principal safely gets escorted to the vehicle.

Box Formation (Air Craft Wheels Up): This transition is basically an opposite of the (Air Craft Wheels Down) formation. In this case, you would start in the Diamond formation and transition into the Box formation as the team approaches the air craft with the principal.

Formations should be considered based on the type of situation and threat level. It’s important that each team member is on the same page, knows their individual responsibilities and ready to fluently change formations at a moments notice. The best security firms in the world provide their guards with continued training and live scenarios to keep them sharp.