A bodyguard (or close protection officer/operative) is a type of security guard, government law enforcement officer, or servicemember who protects a person or a group of people — usually high-ranking public officials or officers, wealthy people, and celebrities — from danger: generally theft, assault, kidnapping, assassination, harassment, loss of confidential information, threats, or other criminal offences. The personnel team that protects a VIP is often referred to as the VIP's security detail.

Bodyguards with President Ronald Reagan moments before he was shot in March 1981
NamesClose protection officer, executive protection agent, personal protection specialist
Occupation type
Government employment or private employment
Activity sectors
Law enforcement, Government, Military, Security
CompetenciesTeam player, confidential, discreet, alert, observant, ability to stay focused, physically fit, calm under pressure
Education required
Background in security, law enforcement, armed forces, Security Industry Authority, driver's license
Fields of
Near VIPs
Related jobs
Security guard, law enforcement officer, anti-terrorism specialist, intelligence officer, military special operations, private investigator

Most important public figures, such as heads of state, heads of government, and governors are protected by several bodyguards or by a team of bodyguards from a government agency, security forces, or police forces (e.g., in the United States, the Secret Service or the Diplomatic Security Service of the State Department). In most countries where the head of state is also their military leader, the leader's bodyguards have traditionally been royal guards, republican guards and other military units. Less-important public figures, or those with lower risk profiles, may be accompanied by a single bodyguard who doubles as a driver.

A number of high-profile celebrities and CEOs also use bodyguards. In some countries or regions (e.g., in Latin America), wealthy people may have a bodyguard when they travel. In some cases, the security personnel uses an armoured vehicle, which protects them and the VIP.