EU Protective Operations

Enabling officials to perform relocation and protection duties to regional and international standards.

The EU Protected Persons Course also known as witness protection combines foundation and advanced protection courses as prescribed by international and regional curriculum. Students will learn how to identify persons in need of relocation and protection, develop a protection plan, exfiltrate persons in need of protection from high-risk environments, enforce protective custody, utilise the covert infrastructure to develop cover and legend, brief and train protected persons on tradecraft and security, relocate and provide short-term support to protected persons and plan contingency in case of compromise. The course draws particular attention to regional and international law, ethical standards, health, safety and security.

Introducing students to protective intelligence, the course takes students with an existing knowledge of intelligence to the position of recognised protective intelligence officers.

Target Audience

The course is oriented towards trained and experienced intelligence professionals. Therefore, in addition to the usual minimum requirements for all Institute training, applicants should also posses regional training in intelligence on the operations, analysis or command track, equivalent to the EUIOC, EUIAC, EUIMC or similar. Historically, the programme has attracted the following representation:

Internationals: Representatives from EU, UN and other international agencies, missions and institutions. Nationals: National intelligence, military and law-enforcement delegates attending on behalf of European states.
Non-Profits: Functionaries in a position of public trust representing the media, NGOs, charitable and other third sector organisations. Others: Professionals from the private sector, academia and other organisations.

Learning Objectives

ECIM Concepts: Understand the European Criminal Intelligence Model (ECIM), list the international cooperation possibilities for protective operations and integrate resources from the international to the local level into a targeted protection plan.

Protection Foundations: Describe the fundamentals of protective intelligence in a covert operations environment. Explain the main types of protective operations and understand the role and capabilities of the protected persons function. Understand the organisational and operational structures of protective operations and common threat agents.

Threat Awareness: Demonstrate an awareness of threat to life and duty of care obligations by identifying persons in need of relocation and protection. Assess the risk to protected persons, explain the legal and ethical issues surrounding protection and deploy appropriate protective measures.

Covert Support: Utilising covert infrastructure and methodology, create credible and realistic legends and relocate vulnerable persons throughout Europe via protective custody. Provide short-term support to protected persons under deep cover. Provide personal security, self-defence, restraint and tradecraft training as appropriate. Assist with covert support to rescue/recovery and provide the necessary intelligence support to such operations. Conduct physical and technical surveillance countermeasures, protective surveillance and reconnaissance.

Protection Planning: Conduct tactical operation planning, employing motorised and foot escorts, vehicle and person stop and searches. Employ defensive tactics to various operational scenarios, planning contingency in case of compromise. Conduct exfiltration planning to extract persons in need of protection from high-risk environments.

Course Format

The EU Protected Persons Course is designed to develop regional skills and knowledge in the field of protection and relocation of persons under threat. To develop these skills a variety of formats and delivery methods have been used including:

  1. Flexible Delivery: Workshops and exercises as well as traditional lectures.
  2. Coaching & Mentoring: Career advice in the security sector from recognised experts, assistance and support with course content and sustained aftercare.
  3. Blended Learning: The latest iteration of the course combines preparatory training via our e-learning platform with consolidated learning in an intensive attendance programme.

Part 1 - e-Learning

Prior to attendance each candidate must pass a preparatory e-learning programme delivered over no less than one month. Candidates are free to sign up and begin study at any time and on their own schedule.

Block 1
International Cooperation & the ECIM

Block 2
Law & Ethics

Block 3
Integrated Protection Planning

Block 4
Security & Risk

Block 5
Protective Intelligence Operations

Between April and July the following webinars and other online events will be scheduled for delivery via a secure platform. These sessions on the more sensitive information and practical training needed to perform protection and relocation throughout Europe. Each session is approximately 90mins in duration and most often scheduled during CET evenings and weekends to fit in with candidate's professional commitments.

  • Induction & Security.
  • Protective Custody, Extraction, Relocation & Resettlement.
  • Legend Building & Deep Cover.
  • Covert Infrastructure & Methodology.
  • Protection Tradecraft & Defensive Operational Tactics.
  • Agent Tradecraft Training.
  • Foot Surveillance.
  • Mobile & Progressive Surveillance.
  • Protective Surveillance & Reconnaissance.
  • Technical Surveillance & TSCM.
  • Patrol, Stop & Search.
  • Intelligence Support to Search & Rescue.
  • Self-Defence (OTA*)

* Specialised optional training is offered with each of the Institute's courses. Although this extended training does not form part of the curriculum it is assessed and can offer candidates the opportunity to gain a more practical insight into a specific area of their training. These Optional Training Assessments (OTAs) are discretionary and may be offered at any point throughout the study cycle.

Part 2 - Residential School

After completion of the e-learning programme in Stage I, an intensive residential school consolidates learning over five to twelve consecutive days depending upon the options chosen. The majority of the school is Ex. SOLO, a live training exercise and capability assessment during which candidates take on the role of protection officers. Candidates must attend on-site in Vienna to complete the school.

Day 1
Induction & Operations

Day 2
Exercise Solo

Day 3
Exercise Solo

Day 4
Exercise Solo

Day 5
Exercise Solo

As the majority of the school exists in exercise phases, the residential school typically lasts for 5 days but may be extended by a further 7 days as select students continue the exercise overseas. For further details consult Ex. SOLO.

Dates & Times

Candidates are free to sign up and begin studying the e-learning component at any time and on their own schedule. The residential school runs once a year, beginning on the fifth Monday in July or the first Monday of August and running for five to twelve consecutive days depending upon the options chosen. Candidates may not be admitted to the residential school without having achieved a passing grade on the e-learning element. Therefore, candidates should ensure they are enrolled by no later than the first week in April to provide sufficient time to complete distance-learning and access to all available scheduled events. Applications take approximately 4 weeks to process but security vetting may take up to 6 months to complete for applicants who lack a current security clearance.


Assessment may be by any valid and accredited competency assessment meeting course requirements. However, competency is most commonly evidenced through the following combination of assessment methods:

  • A pre-selection dossier including validated: security vetting, professional/academic reference checks, higher education certification (degree-level or equivalent), fitness/medical checks and evidence of a relevant career history and assessed knowledge in European security.
  • A score of greater than 49% on the intelligence operations section of the MCPE or an equivalently balanced examination of similar content.
  • Submission of a portfolio of work satisfying the criteria for at least a pass according to the candidate handbook.
  • An approved assessor's independent testimony of observed competency across the protective operations domain of the Integrated Competency Framework (ICF) for Intelligence throughout at least 10 hours of supervised professional practice.


Credentials are fully accredited for compliance with international standards. For further details on Institute requirements, international standards and accreditation, view the Accreditation page.


The EQF Level 3 Certificate in EU Protective Intelligence accompanying this credential is earned after accruing 14 credits at approximately 140 guided learning hours.

Fees & Discounts

Not including accommodation, the course is delivered at a cost of €3000. Payment is accepted by bank transfer, card or PayPal. The following pricing options are available:

Member's Rate: If you have a current membership, log in with your user ID and password to receive a €150 discount when making your payment online.

Group Rate: If you are booking on behalf of a group, further incentives may apply. Please contact the head of the training and directing staff for further details.

Induction Fees: Candidates using the Institute to obtain a security clearance for the first time must also complete the Intelligence Security (INTSEC) awareness course. Those who have not studied with the Academy before must complete the Intelligence Foundations (INTFND) selection and induction course. Fees for these online short-courses are €350 and €150 respectively.


 IEIS Candidate Handbook (PDF, 352KB)
 EUPPC Syllabus & Curriculum (PDF, 191KB)