Maintain the Element of Surprise: Covert Methods of Entry


Covert Methods of Entry (CME) are used to maintain the tactical element of surprise and preserve team member safety in sensitive tactical operations as well as to preserve critical evidence for investigations involving sophisticated criminal enterprises. CME training supports the counter-terrorism mission both domestic and abroad. This hard skill-set has been an important recipe for success in countering networked violent extremists and like all strategic capabilities is measured first in its effect rather than frequency of use.


CME is a large open ended subject with rewards to be found from the very beginning with the acquisition of basic hard skills. Progressive training evolutions will provide advanced capabilities to defeat barriers to entry with destructive or non-destructive means at targeted structures. CME training has worked with great effect to save lives and enable the preservation of evidence for the effective prosecution of criminals and terrorists alike. The CME methods are force multipliers in operating environments with ever increasing challenges and complexities.


An introduction to Covert Methods of Entry will address locking systems, components, and mechanisms and develop hard skills for their neutralization. Operators learn to conduct lock reconnaissance, project and provide solutions to entry problems. For sensitive investigations, the overarching aim is to gain access to structures, containers, and vehicles without compromise or trace through various non-destructive methods. For target interdictions and arrest, destructive methods may be used provided they preserve the element of surprise. The methods are force multipliers in operating environments that have increased challenges and complexities.


These methods are enabling where other tools and human sources or supports to an operation are of no avail. CME techniques also support the deployments of technical equipment to gather evidence of crime or extremist activity. Significant advances in technology have not replaced the need for this approach to difficult targets.

The decision to train and educate your agency members should be selective. Those chosen to undergo this type of training should be mechanically inclined, familiar with tools, and attentive to detail. CME operators should be prepared to support joint operations and be familiar with collaboration in the task force environment. Knowledge and experience with tactical operations, discrete surveillance, and complex investigations is desired.

ITTA formulates courses of instruction which meets agency requirements and are planned, directed and based on the experience of current experts in the dedicated surveillance enterprise for activities of strategic importance in Asia, Africa, and Europe. CME training supports end-to-end operational solutions and contingency planning, builds important capabilities, increases crisis preparedness, preserves safety in tactical actions and helps us gather intelligence and evidence to combat terror and major crime. Training is restricted to law enforcement and permitted government organisations in approved countries.


About the Author: Aaron Cunningham is the acting President of the International Tactical Training Association (ITTA). 

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