Navigating High-Risk Security Environments: Lessons from a Military-trained Security Manager in Afghanistan

A photo of Stefano Panzanera, a private military contractor.

The selected code name is “Panzer”. Panzer boasts an extensive background in the military.

He enlisted into the army’s elite unit – The Folgore Brigade – right after turning nineteen. After completing initial training here, he moved on to attend Military Parachute School based out of Pisa, which eventually helped him gain expertise in parachuting. The military helicopter pilot license he got from the 72nd Aeronautical Military Squadron was obtained after attending The Army Light Aviation Training Center located in Viterbo. Throughout his career in the military, Panzer gained vast experience and learned various special techniques. At present Panzer keeps some of his personal information about various experiences in the industry undisclosed besides his military background.

Focusing on his experience as a Security Manager in Afghanistan and drawing from his military background is the primary subject of this article that discusses navigating through tough circumstances.

As a Security Manager in Afghanistan, what tasks were assigned to you?

In Afghanistan, as a Security Manager, I had multiple and complex responsibilities. To keep everyone safe including the leadership team and American personnel inside the base camp and over eight hundred workers outside of it was my main task. Also, I had to ensure protection for many corporations which lay beyond the fortified perimeter encompassing our primary base camp.

Providing security while the purpose was for the construction of barracks for the Afghan Armed Forces was my main goal. It took about two years to build their barracks. Despite its difficulty and challenges, I remained determined and professional throughout the task.

How did you address the main threats you faced in Afghanistan?

Being deployed in Afghanistan exposed me to several risks, among which logistic issues posed the biggest threat for us since we were positioned in a desert area nearby an ISAF camp that falls under heavy Pashtuns influence. My escort and I covered around 10 km every week while making deliveries at the American base as per our duty requirement.

Our biggest obstacle on the journey was navigating through possible IEDs and potential attacks.

By adopting various security measures like opting for different routes during transit or using fortified cars alongside deploying cutting-edge monitoring technologies, I was able to mitigate the aforementioned risks.

What measures have you taken to safeguard personnel and organizational assets?

In order to secure both personnel and organizational properties, I introduced multiple security protocols. Ditching was my first step towards securing both the base camp and construction site perimeters. For the protection of expat staff at the base camp, I gave orders to build barricades and anti-mortar bunkers.

As an added measure, I supervised two entry points where all incoming and outgoing vehicles were regulated. In addition to that responsibility, I supervised a team of three private military contractors and forty local forces. Highly specialized, with specific security skills, for each team member. Maximum protection for personnel and organizational properties was ensured in this way.

How might the experience you obtained while serving as a Security Manager in Afghanistan apply to alternative work scenarios?

I learned from my experience in Afghanistan that personnel and property safety can be ensured through planning and careful preparation. The significance of being flexible and adaptable in unforeseen circumstances was another lesson I acquired. Many work contexts can benefit from these skills, especially those with high-risk and security concerns.

When faced with high-stress circumstances, what measures did you take to uphold the efficiency and motivation of your team?

From special forces and the French Legion came my close collaborators – a team of highly specialized non-local contractors. The team’s unity and cohesion were maintained thanks to my leadership.

When faced with difficult circumstances, it was important for me to implement various methods that would help sustain both productivity levels and morale among my colleagues. This meant utilizing tactics such as frequent check-ins through effective communication channels, coupled with proper delegation practices aimed at empowering individuals within their respective roles. Furthermore, I consistently strived to establish a constructive and secure working atmosphere for the group by providing emotional assistance and acknowledging the individual requirements of every member.

Have you faced any demanding decisions related to security during your work in Afghanistan? In what way did you manage that particular scenario?

My work in Afghanistan presented me with numerous difficult scenarios. Of all my experiences in that role, having to tell the Marine’s Quick Reaction Force about an uprising among unpaid local workers caused me difficulty. For security purposes, I am unable to elaborate further but rest assured it was an extremely challenging and intense experience. The need for a fast but accurate response led me to analyze the situation carefully before making a decisive choice. My behavior was collected and professional as I coordinated my team’s actions and collaborated closely with military personnel to safeguard everyone involved. In emergency situations, being mentally prepared and capable of making smart decisions quickly is vital.

Can you provide guidance for individuals interested in pursuing a security career within an environment comparable to your previous workplace?

To those who are looking for a job in security within an atmosphere akin to my previous workplace – possessing advanced military expertise is what I would suggest. One should avoid relying on short-term training courses since they do not provide adequate preparation for these situations and could potentially endanger many lives. People with legitimate military expertise grasp the meaning behind my words. Taking responsibility for people’s safety in the field is an important issue that requires seriousness.

A comprehensive knowledge of dangerous scenarios along with adequate preparation and training is imperative for safety. Improvising in an environment that is both delicate and highly dangerous is impossible. To successfully pursue this career path, one must have adequate preparation and training to tackle the challenges ahead.

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6 thoughts on “Navigating High-Risk Security Environments: Lessons from a Military-trained Security Manager in Afghanistan

  • CharliePapa -

    Great read! Panzanera’s firsthand account of working as a Security Manager in Afghanistan is both enlightening and inspiring. His strategies for handling risk, maintaining team morale, and ensuring safety are truly invaluable. His advice for those pursuing a similar career path is especially pertinent. Thanks for this insightful piece, Insider Release!

  • Thanks for sharing. I read many of your blog posts, cool, your blog is very good.

  • hesabi olusturma -

    Your article helped me a lot, is there any more related content? Thanks!

  • Wow, just finished reading about a security manager’s intense experiences in Afghanistan, and it’s a real eye-opener. Mixing military know-how with real-world security challenges is incredibly fascinating. The article offers some serious food for thought on how those high-pressure situations shape invaluable lessons for anyone keen on security. It’s a stark reminder of the bravery and adaptability needed in such tough roles. Truly inspiring!

    • Thanks so much for diving into the article and sharing your thoughts! It’s fantastic to hear that you found the insights from Afghanistan both eye-opening and inspiring. We aim to highlight the extraordinary challenges and bravery faced by professionals in high-risk environments, and it sounds like this story really resonated with you. Your enthusiasm for understanding the depth of security work in conflict zones is exactly the kind of engagement we love to see. Stay tuned for more stories that bring the realities of such critical roles to light. Thanks again for your support and insightful feedback!

  • Wow, just finished reading about the lessons from a military-trained security manager in Afghanistan, and it’s eye-opening! The blend of firsthand military experience with the challenges of high-risk security environments offers some serious insights. It’s fascinating and a bit daunting to see what it takes to navigate such unpredictable situations. This article is a must-read for anyone curious about the realities of security work in conflict zones. Really puts into perspective the skills and resilience needed in these roles.

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