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Some years ago, I was training a SWAT team covering their responsibilities when providing augmentation to the United States’ Secret Service for a Presidential motorcade. When the topic of countering an assault on the motorcade came up, I gave them the mantra a friend in the Secret Service once gave me: if you see the CAT (Counter Assault Team) come out of the black suburban look for cover.

swat2The CAT would normally come out only to engage attackers and they might well come out shooting. Secret Service CATs are heavily armed and well trained in counter-ambush, fire and maneuver tactics. However, they are trained to remain low profile in their vehicle unless things turn ugly.

What I want to discuss is a variant use of a CAT in dangerous environments. They operate in a much more “in your face” mode and make no secret about their purpose. Often, they are drawn from military or police special force units. Although dignitaries such as the US President, the US Secretary of State, the Queen of Great Britain and others normally prefer their security details to stay as unobtrusive as possible, this is not always the case.

Although the Queen’s protection is normally provided by SO14, the Royalty Protection Group of the Metropolitan Police, on some visits when danger is considered heightened, the Special Air Service has provided additional personnel. When visiting a war zone or other dangerous areas, US dignitaries have had operators from CAG (Combat Applications Group) or DevGru (Development Group) attached for heavier firepower when necessary.

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