“Mission Essential” is an upcoming feature in The Citadel magazine about four graduates who have been brought together in their work with the Secret Service to ensure the protection of the nation’s highest elected leaders.
Brent Daniels was a freshman playing intramural football on Summerall Field when the football team, returning from practice, stopped to watch. Later that night, the Atlanta native got a visit from two seniors.
“Sir, yes sir.”
“Do you play football?
“Sir, yes sir.”
“Do you want to play football?”
“Sir, yes sir.”
The next day he found himself talking to the coaching staff and joining the varsity team. He played his sophomore and junior years. As a senior, he gave up football to serve as the vice chairman of the honor court.
“The world is starving for leadership and decency and principled people. And in very plain terms, The Citadel is a factory for the hardworking, dedicated, selfless, smart and aspirational. People embrace every experience—whether adverse or rewarding, victory or defeat—and unleash their talents on a world, not just our nation, but a world that is really deprived of that presence, and they really just seek to be a light in the world,” said Daniels. “The Citadel is filling a need that is in the greatest demand I’ve ever known.”
After graduating in 1999 with a degree in English, Daniels began his law enforcement career with the Cobb County Police Department in the Atlanta metropolitan area. He graduated from the police academy on a Friday, and on Saturday evening he was out on his first patrol with his field training officer. Within 15 minutes he found himself on a high-speed pursuit of an armed fugitive from Louisiana who had taken two lives. When the fugitive jumped out of his vehicle, Daniels jumped out of the patrol car and tackled him before he reached the wood line.
It was an auspicious beginning to what has been a storybook career in law enforcement.
From patrol, Daniels worked in a gang investigation unit. After that, he was promoted to detective and worked in counter terrorism with a joint terrorism task force. Four years later, he started as a Secret Service agent. In his 18 years with the agency, he has worked in investigations in the Atlanta field office and served as a member of the elite counter assault team, completed three tours on presidential protective detail and served as the deputy campaign coordinator for the 2020 election. Today, he is the coordinator for the 2024 presidential campaign security team.
“In my current position, for the first time in agency history, we have a full-time campaign branch within my division, dedicated to preparing for future presidential campaigns. I lead a team of professionals who write the policy, who propose the budgets, who acquire and support requisitions, who train, who design training curriculums, who draft the interagency agreements with our strategic partners, who work with the major parties. We track polling to identify potential major candidates for the offices that they’re aspiring to fill. We pre-position equipment throughout the country based on polling data, based on operational data, going all the way back, probably 25 years’ worth of campaign data.”