Interview with the Director General


April 2017 interview with Director General of the IBA, Jim Shortt by Nataša Gajski Kovačić, Executive Editor of Zaštita (Protection) Magazine Zagreb on the 60th Anniversary of the IBA's foundation.

Can you, please, compare the IBA organisation at the beginning of 1990 when you started to lead that organisation with nowadays?

I was willed control of the IBA by Lucien Ott in the final days of his terminal illness in February 1990 with the stipulation I continue his work. At a meeting on the 20th July 1989,that I attended in Paris Lucien laid a written blueprint for the IBA. The main areas addressed were

  • IBA Membership (Individual & Corporate)
  • National Offices
  • Instructor programme and regulation
  • Licensing of IBA Courses.

I had served as President of the IBA for 2 consecutive years in the mid 1980s while director of projects with Special Training Services of which Lucien was also a director under our chairman Vice Admiral Sir Peter Austin and Viscount John Slim.  When I returned in February 1988 from Afghanistan Lucien appointed me in full time employment with IBA as both International Co-ordinator (Administration) and Director of Training (Technical), Following Lucien's death in February 1990 I rejected the title of President for my position but chose Director General to cover both my previous roles. On Lucien's business card he had called the IBA HQ – Direction Générale. From February 1990 I pursued the twin objectives of Organisation and Training in developing the IBA.

My primary mission was that the IBA should continue to develop as a protection brains trust and not like so may training bodies both government and corporate become simply a museum of past technique. To achieve this meant pursuing 'best practice' and 'bodyguard tradecraft' rather than the usual 'monkey see-monkey do' mentality found in most bodyguard 'kindergardens'. Since February 1990 the IBA has expanded globally on to 5 continents, registered with the United Nations as an INGO, with the Union of International Associations in Bruxelles, protected our logos with OHIM of the European Union and increased our membership 2000%. 

Can you tell us some IBA figures, like number of associated members, network and training programs?

The International Bodyguard Register lists nearly 7000 graduates holding the '100 hours' internationally numbered badge with Lucien Ott's badge being 001. In addition we have 5500 probationer (less than 100 hrs training) graduates, 58 social (honourary) members and 634 Associate members. 

The IBA programmes exist at 3 levels:

  • Foundation (International Bodyguard Skills course—100 hrs)
  • Specialist (intermediate)
  • Advanced  

Our instructors have to gradute as CIBG (Certified International Bodyguards) then achieve Moniteur grade and all instructors , both Instructeur and Professeur must renew their qualification every 2 years.

Courses are arranged under licence with annually appointed National Officers under a stipulated contract.

You lead the organisation from the London headquarters, but how much time you spend per year visiting other branches across the world?

I spend a minimum of 2 weeks of each month travelling and teaching abroad from Asia to Europe, Americas to Africa and as far south as Oceania. My work is very much 'hands-on'.

What has changed in training and skills that the IBA is practicing in the last two decades?

The fundamental skills remain the same but the detail changes and advances in the response to new threats and technology. By way of example; twenty, even thirty years ago we did not have hostile surveillance through drones. At the same time we are able to use drones to survey Residence and grounds, also to check routes and possible ambush and sniper sites. The internet, GPS/GSMhave provided us with both tools and threat.

What are the main goals that is IBA trying to achieve with new people that are going through your trainings and education programmes?

What we are achieving is what we have always been achieving. 

What is the main benefit that future bodyguards and security guards gain from IBA?

It has to be our experience and world networking. People should not be confused that licensing is Education, invariably it is not just a series of legal hoops placed as a barrier or extortion. One of the biggest challenges to bodyguard education in recent years has been state licensing. It does not exist to protect the public orclients or even to insure standards or regulate the profession. In many countries it is just another source of revenue, a means for tax authorities to add to the finances of the state. I have yet to see a licensing scheme that is 'fit for purpose'. Prior to the London Olympics the British Government in October 2010 listed the SIA to be closed as an inefficient Quango that was failing. The story of the British SIA is a story of government incompetence, greed and stupidity*. The IBA is the only Bodyguards organisation registered with UIA and the UN dedicated to the education of bodyguards and one that successfully achieves this globally. The lie has always been that SIA is a UK Government body – it is not just another UK Quango.


How successful are your bodyguard programmes when it comes to finding a security job after the training?

It is not the 'job' of IBA to find work for graduates of IBA anymore than it is the responsibility of the university to place their graduates. It is not ethical or logical to 'bait the hook' of potential students with the 'do our course and we will employ you and find employment for you'. In fact it has been proven as the height of dishonesty. From the training side if the student motivation is only 'give me a job' how does IBA know this stranger is either suitable or ethically equipped. Do we select other professionals like doctors or lawyers on a single criteria that they need some form of employment?  From the students viewpoint, historically the promise of work usually doesn't materialise even after paying and completing the course. Recently a scandal on close protection social media has been a crook who claims to have been a Russian special forces officer teaching his own tactical courses. He claims to live in London (a lie), on his profile he claims to be 'boss of the SIA (total lie) and he had promised students who did his courses -work but the work never appeared and he cut contact with students he promised work to a soon as they complain. He is now focussing his scam on fools in Italy.  It is not the first or last time such a scam has been used .We do not promise work but have successfully provided work to successful IBA students. In the labour market there always the unemployed and the unemployable. Suitability and opportunity should be the criteria for employment not simply a lure to part with ones money. 

What is the position of IBA organisation on the Balkans and Adriatic area, especially Croatia and Slovenia?

IBA pioneered bodyguard training in the Balkans and in fact many of the individuals now offering 'courses' to individuals in the Balkans started their training with IBA and the majority of those were expelled from the IBA for code of ethics violations prior to setting up their pyramid schemes. They were not capable of meeting our standards and saw training as simply a money making opportunity. There is no doubt that every such scam makes our job harder, as we cannot co exist with dishonesty. The hard core of the IBA in the Balkans are well trained professionals their focus is the ongoing mentoring in best practice and bodyguard tradecraft for those in the Balkans wishing to train to be the professional bodyguard.

Where do you see room for further progress of IBA considering organisation, education, knowledge?

I believe it is self evident that IBA has developed and progressed and pioneered protection training for over 60 years and there is no genuine reason that this does not continue.

Although you are globally present, I assume that there's still parts of the world where you would like a stronger presence?

Training is determined by economics. Bodyguards in poor countries (3rd world nations) cannot afford training and rely on sponsors and patrons. These often do not care if a person is trained and erroneously see their personnel as just meat to be thrown into a grinder a la 'John Wick 2'  Our job is as much to educate the bosses as the bodyguards. The last 10 years has seen the IBA formation pioneered in Africa, Asia and Hispanic America. That said I was teaching in the Caribbean, South Africa and places like Hong Kong 30 years ago as is shown by the news programmes on the IBAHQ channel of

Till when do you plan to lead the IBA, and do you have a successor?

Plans are in place.

At the end tell us something about yourself, personally and professionally! 

What is there to tell?  – I have kept the faith with the dream of Lucien Ott. I have stated who I am as opposed to the claims of anonymous cowardly trolls who hide in the dark recesses of the internet. International investigators such as L Burke Files in the USA have through due diligence vindicated my curriculum vitae, that is what I have claimed as opposed to what they have whispered of what they claim I have claimed.  At the end of the day the real vindication lies in our teaching and the success of our practices.

In the Balkans many bodyguards have been fooled into parting with very large sums of money to take 'SIA' courses. But the SIA does not run any courses! Independent contractors register with diploma factories such as City & Guilds, BTEC and Highfield. If successful the candidate may be able to apply for an SIA CP3 licence by paying an additional fee. The SIA licence is only granted if there is a right to work in UK, even if the proposed work area is outside the UK (sic. Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya). In the UK there are about 1000 CP3 licence holders chasing every one job. Too few jobs and too many CP3 licence holders but no body tells you this when they are asking for your course money.  The vast majority of quality firms employing in HEAT (Hostile environments) areas no longer ask or require a UK CP3 licence as it is now regarded as a false standard. Bad news for the many boys and girls that put themselves into debt trying to achieve this non-Balkan 'standard'.



Imitators & Detractors

We are the International Bodyguard Association, we have no equals but many imitators and some detractors amongst rivals and those that failed to live up to our code of ethics. The International Bodyguard Association is a membership organization that subscribes to the United Nations Charter of Human Rights. It is a registered organization with the Union of International Associations (UIA) in Brussels, established in 1907. The IBA is an International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO) registered with UN DESA (Departments of Economic & Social Affairs) and having consultative status with the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination (OESC) of the United Nations. We are registered in the Republic of Ireland, our name and logos registered with the European Union and with the Governments of many Nations.


We, the IBA are truly International with representative offices on 5 continents and individual  representations at regional, national and area level. Our imitators say they are International, World or Global when what they mean is they may or may not have 1 or 2 acquaintances that correspond with them over the internet. This does not make them global or international it is a delusion they suffer and an illusion they present to the world. 


Since 1957 we have represented the interests of Bodyguards as a pan-generic group of individuals. Our imitators sometimes call themselves bodyguards when they have no specific training as a bodyguard, they lack the tradecraft and skills. Many have misrepresented themselves as competent and trained to achieve employment wearing the name bodyguard as a charlatan would don a white coat and call themselves a doctor. Some groups have represented themselves by brand as Close Protection when they have never completed the Royal Military Police at Longmoor and others after completing training for UK licensing (rather than education) are able to use the term to imply competence.

Many others not from the UK try to use the term CP as a mantle of camouflage to imply superior knowledge or just as a marketing tool. In the same way individuals and companies have adopted the term PSD as Personal Security Detail or Protective Services Detachments without training with the US Military or attended the specific course of the United States Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood or its’ predecessor at Ft McClelland. In the United States of America it has become prevalent to speak of Executive Protection rather than Bodyguard to imply like CP a ‘superior’ form of protection, this is merely a marketing scam. Yet the term Executive Protection was only created in law in the United States to describe the functions of the White House Police and later Uniformed Division of the US Secret Service in the 1970s and referred to an armed unformed guard force rather than the bodyguards of the US Secret Service. 

The term Bodyguard is attributable to both Men and Women unlike a Policeman or Policewomen which are gender specific. The Bodyguard is a protector regardless of the sphere they work in be it Dignitary Protection for Royalty, Presidential or Diplomatic personnel or in Executive Protection of corporate figures, or Protective Services Detail or Close Protection for militarised high risk and hostile environments. The world of the Judiciary requires protection of Judges, Juries, Advocates and Witnesses in the same way the protection of Celebrities be they film or TV personalities, journalists or writers, sports champions, music stars or leaders from the world of fashion. Finally the protection of the vulnerable but not famous is found in the world of Personal Protection. 

The tradecraft of the bodyguard at very basic level requires a practitioner to be trained competently at least in the management of threat through protective escort, protective driving, also an ability to search and recognise improvised explosive devices and electronic surveillance devices and the response protocols that follows their discovery.  Martial Arts and combat fads do not provide you with a bodyguard education just training in a martial art or the temporary social buzz one gets from connecting in a group hug in the latest combat fad. In having military or elite military service may prepare you to be a bodyguard but does not make you a bodyguard unless you have specific bodyguard training. 

The term Bodyguard is a recognised and legally protected term in the international classification of goods and services in classification number 45 (Bodyguard services), for both European Community and World Intellectual Property Organisation classification. Terms such as VIP Protection, Close Protection, Executive Protection do not have this legal protection as they are deemed to be a sub species of the generic term BODYGUARD, 


As an Association we operate under a constitution and sets of mutually agreed protocols and rules reviewed annually at our annual general meeting (AGM). We have structures for training both bodyguards and our own instructors. Our members and instructors have earned their place in the think tank of bodyguards because they did not just wake up one day and decide to call themselves a bodyguard or a bodyguard instructor like so many on the planet. 

It doesn’t matter if you call yourself a Federation, Association, Union, Organisation or Society, if you are just a cabal of people or an individual you are not the real deal without the structure and function of an association. You are not an Association if it is just a smoke screen for a business. 

You can imitate us by calling yourself International /Global /World/Intergalactic saying that you are, Bodyguard/Close Protection/ PSD/ Executive Protection and adding the words Academy/Service(s)/Union/Associates/Amicale/Association/Federatio, but still that does not make you us. It does not confer our skills, our standards, our best practice, our quality it makes you what you are a poor imitation – a donkey pretending it is a racehorse. We were here first and foremost and you had every opportunity to join and train and be part of the real deal – The IBA – walking the walk and not just talking the talk, but instead you chose a path of deception and imitation. An old saying is true that “a man of words but not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds”. 

If you make an enemy of us by betrayal, attempted deception, lies or in any way are a fair weather friend we will turn our collective backs on you and leave you behind us and that is where you will stay and it is your stupidity and therefore your loss.

Close Protection & Executive Protection

Written by James G. Shortt

I am often asked by colleagues why I have an antipathy towards the terms Close Protection and Executive Protection and their industry buzzword initials CP and EP. The reason why I resolutely use the term of Bodyguard is simple.

The term Executive Protection first made its appearance in private security in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s via commercial bodyguard schools trying to steal a march on their rivals. We see the term used in an article dated in February 1993 "Don't use the 'B' word”, the subtitle of which is “The trick for Bodyguards is to keep a low profile", so even the author, Ms. Fanning, had to use the dreaded 'B' word to communicate to her audience what she was talking about. The entire article is little more than an advertisement for a well known BG school in Virginia. The concept is driven by a weak argument that proposes the EP 'agent' is better trained and of higher standard than the untrained, knuckle dragging gorillas that calls themselves bodyguards without any formal training. That is a no brainer right up to the point the untrained knuckle dragging gorilla catches on to the new fads and changes his profession to 'EP' agent. Very similar crass reasoning is used now by persons promoting the CP or Close Protection term.

There is absolutely nothing between a Bodyguard being trained and educated and a CP/EP being educated. The quality lies in the training, its duration and regular personal audits and updates. Professionalism does not lie in a title but in an individual’s dedication in seeking best practice, good and effective trade craft and their involvement in a brains-trust of dedicated fellow industry operators. Often, and by that I mean the majority of protection professionals have attended one school at the start of their career and the syllabus taken from some yellowed pages of a quasi-government manual (Israeli (730 or שומר-ראש, USSS, BDS, 22 SAS, SO12, RMP CPU, CID PSD... take your choice) but effectively a museum of protective technique of what was once best practice and trade craft when the world was young.

Many of the American EP crowd allude to the fact they are emulating the United States Secret Service POTUS protection division. I have been told to my face this is a fact and EP is a term from POTUS protection. Investigation showed this was smoke and mirrors from an author who became an industry expert by writing books, then teaching protection and eventually actually doing protection (the reverse passage of my own roots).

In 1970, Public Law 91-217 expanded the role of the White House Police, newly named the Executive Protective Service, to include protection of the gates of diplomatic missions in the Washington, D.C. area. Congress later added the protection of the Vice President's immediate family to the Executive Protective Service's growing responsibilities in 1974. After several name revisions, the force officially adopted its current name, the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division in 1977. While protecting the access to the White House Complex remains its primary mission, the Uniformed Division's responsibilities have expanded greatly over the years. So Executive Protection per se only to a uniformed security presence rather than a bodyguard role. These facts have not deterred the zealots that refer to their tradecraft as EP instead of the more commonly known terminology of Bodyguard (BG).

The other element of EP I find ridiculous is the doctrine that they emulate the US Secret Service. This is absurd if you closely examine the methodology of the US Secret Service it relies on large units of man and woman power and banks full of cash. Since the time of Clinton when POTUS travels he is surrounded by a massive entourage - over 1000 persons travelling. The logistics are that a minimum 250 armed protection agents including advance agents and technical support (IED/ESD search) CAT teams, plus 15 IED search dogs + handlers some 40 protective drivers to staff 2 identical motorcades of 20 vehicles. Think of the bill not just for wages and pensions, but accommodation, meals, transportation. On the subject of transportation - 2 Airforce Ones (2 identical Boeing 747-200s) Aircraft One cost UK£200 million to build and costs UK£28,000 an hour to maintain even when just parked up. You want to tell me you follow the US Secret Service doctrine on protection? Then have a budget to match your mouth.

Similar delusions can now be found by those using the term Close Protection. The British Special Branch which included what became SO12 were operating in the Bodyguard role when Queen Victoria was still on the throne. The 'Johnny-come-latelies' were the British Special Forces in the form of the Special Projects wing of 22 SAS. In the early 1960s men like Malcolm Rees and Alex Spence created the SAS BG doctrine but a strain on resources due to switch in SP wing from anti terrorism (prevention -BG) to counter terrorism (intervention) meant surrendering the BG role to the Royal Military Police in Germany in the mid 1970s.Not wishing to be in the shadow of the SAS the RMP bodyguards from their base in Werhl (Sennelager) visited both French and Dutch state bodyguards. Training with the French they encountered the term 'protection rapprochée'. The word 'rapprochée' means close or in close proximity. The RMP decided to use this term to replace bodyguard. 

The term has been used by RMP and the CPU run 4 courses a year of 8 weeks each at their Longmoor base. Again the doyens of the protection world in UK repeat the same jaded mantra of their American forebears of 10 years before "CP" are highly trained and educated and 'BG' are brainless untrained Gorilla (an analogy repeated to me by one of the RMP CP veterans in 1982 when comparing the difference between RMP CP and SAS BG, his punchline was SAS BG ripping the arms of children in the crowd and beating people with the arms - not a reality but an SAS mentality putdown).  Of course now we have plenty of knuckle dragging untrained Gorillas calling themselves CP. Social media is full of organisations claiming to represent CP who have undergone one day of training in either CP or BG before they established the HQ of their organisation in their bedroom (probably without informing their parents). Even 22 SAS when they refocussed on protection under their former boss, Michael Rose now speak of VIP protection instead of Bodyguarding. To me all this find another and different buzz word simply rings of 'paint the bus a different colour'. Anyone familiar with protection knows it requires a team made up of different sections using varied skills to create an overlapping barrier between principal and any threat. Yes, there is the PES (Protective Escort section) This section will vary in size dependent on the level of determined threat. They may operate in Close Escort, but equally may operate in Open Escort formations and with the unhelpful principal (wife and children of the Principal) may operate in Shadow escort (basically the ABC follow method of MI5's A4 surveillance department). So even in the PES it does not compute that protection will be 'close', same is true of the Vehicle section (shadow car/escort vehicle). While members of the Security Section (working in SAP, Residential, Surveillance, IED/ESD Search and counter surveillance roles) are rarely 'close' to the Principal or in close proximity. The Bodyguard role accepts this but the anomaly is that 'Close Protection' is not a fitting term when by necessity personnel are limited in the proximate distance from the Principal. Close or Close proximity is not an apt term to describe the protection activity, especially when one speaks of achieving protection through concentric rings of security with only the inner ring being the actual close protection

Interestingly, absolutely nowhere in British legislation does the term Close Protection appear even in the 2001 Security Industry Act which created the far from competent quango SIA. When questioned by me the woman responsible for adopting the term Close Protection as a qualification for private security staff completing a 1-2-3- week privately certified course, claimed initially it was enshrined in UK law. When I showed her it wasn't she claimed the term had been jointly suggested through liaison with the UK Police, Royal Military Police and 22 SAS. When I pressed her to name names and offered to contact those 3 bodies for confirmation she finally admitted it was from private individuals advising the private training body SITO. The same woman a month later resigned from SIA and went to work for SITO. There is no comparison between the RMP 8 week course and a privately certified 1-2-3 week course. Not only is CP not enshrined in UK Law, nowhere in national or international legislation for the registration of intellectual property or trademarks is it contained. You cannot register EP, VIP protection, CP. Personal Protection or any of the other specialism which come under the term Bodyguard. Through the World Intellectual Property Organisation (based in Geneva) or the EU's OHIM in Alicante (Organisation for the Harmony of the Internal Market) now EUIPO the ONLY recognised term under the Treaty of Nice is Bodyguard and it's classification is No 41. 

I have based my objections to the EP and CP buzzwords based on terminology, history usage and law, but in truth the objection must also be on the basis of public communication.

* In the late 1980s it was my privedge to work in Paris on a Contol Risks project "Arctic Tern" led by Captain 'Ginge' Rees GM. OBE and bar (retired 22 SAS) who was one of the 2 warrant offices who pioneered Bodyguarding with Special Projects. The project was the protection of Penguin Books targetted by a Fatwa for publishing Satan Verses by Salman Rushdie.


Bodyguard Licensing in the UK

Written by James G. Shortt

We are often asked about the United Kingdom's Security Industry Authority Course, the simple fact is that there is none. There are, however, a multitude of privately certified CP3 courses recognised for licensing by the SIA. The SIA is, in fact, a quango limited to UK jurisdiction and not an international body, nor is the licence or the private certification it issues, an international standard, despite what many organisations would have you believe. 

For the CP3 licence in UK certain private examination boards (BTEC, C&G, Highfield, etc.) provide occupational certifications which are accepted as part of the process for the SIA UK CP licence. The SIA do not certify anyone, they merely provide you with a license if you have the right to employment within UK jurisdiction and are prepared to pay their required fees. 

Through partners, we provide two SIA approved courses, one in the UK and another in Slovenia. Any IBA course undertaken can be used as part of the experienced practitioner (EP) training for the reduced hours (EP) 24 hrs course for SIA CP3. The IBA IBSC (foundation) course in terms of learning outcomes, trade craft and best practice for bodyguards is of a much higher standard than CP3.  

The vast amount of misinformation on this subject generated by various UK-based companies and their affiliates is a regrettable fact, add to that the vast number of UK "SIA CP Licence Holders" who cannot find employment as a CP with hundreds chasing just one job. You must also take into account the social barriers, that despite paying for the CP3 course and paying again for an SIA licence without a UK military or police background, you are very often excluded and are lucky to find work as a door supervisor.

Bodyguard (that is the WIPO registered term, not the red herrings of CP, EP, CPP or any other misnomer) Education should focus on :

- Best Practice

- Trade Craft

- Learning Outcomes

- Audit & Update

Licensing should be the fifth objective, not the first. Sadly, it seems the aim of Government in licensing is neither public or professional protection, but record, fee paying and taxation. 

Welcome to the New Website of the IBA

For nearly sixty years we have been at the forefront of bodyguard training around the World. We operate on five continents and more than fifty countries meaning that we are the only organisation to offer real worldwide coverage. Wherever you are, you can train in the IBA Method

We have a network of trusted partners who provide only the highest level of bodyguard services. We are selective in who we work with and who we recommend. 

The International Bodyguard Association | Often imitated, never equalled. 

We would like to thank Barrett Shortt & Griffin for their work creating this new website.