I was playing shortstop. There were two men on base, and the coach yelled out to me, asking if I knew what I was going to do if the ball was hit to me. It was a good thing to be thinking about — before a screaming liner came my way.

The Boy Scouts have a motto for the same concept: “Be prepared.”

So does Eric J. Caron — with a message instilled by his father through strong family values and applied on a much more dangerous world stage during a 25-year career as Special Agent for the U.S. Government. He calls it being “switched on.” 

“Being switched on,” says Caron, “is a daily decision, a moment-by-moment choice, a constant awareness and mindset. It is a coat of armor that protects you from all types of threats, in all aspects of life.”

“We need to read the people in front of us, behind us, on the phone and online … there could even be a time when being switched on could save your life.”

Caron’s philosophy serves as the umbrella for his life story as recounted in his insightful memoir, Switched On: The Heart and Mind of a Special Agent (Gatekeeper Press).

“In times of crisis, we can’t think straight, so we must plan in advance,” writes Caron. And thinking straight was essential to Caron’s line of work — investigating terrorist threats, transnational crime, money laundering schemes and more from far-off places like Iran, China, Russia, Dubai and Afghanistan to his own “backyard” running surveillance in Newark, NJ, or monitoring a drug scene from his car in the Bronx, NY.

In his narrative, Caron jumps seamlessly from tales of his upbringing, lessons learned and difficult family matters to finding himself in the thick of — and often heading up — security and intelligence cases involving everyone from U.S. Defense contractors to the CIA.

In fact, one of his first assignments as part of the New Jersey National Security Group eventually made national headlines when Electrodyne Systems Corp. (ESC) was being investigated for illegally sending plans for sensitive military technology to Russia and Ukraine.

Caron says he made it through 25 years by following his father’s “SEE” principle: sleep well, eat right and exercise daily. And in sticking to his beliefs in God, family and doing the right thing, he never fired a weapon and was never shot at.

It was an exciting life, says Caron, but one that could be lonely as well. Follow the author through his incredible ride, and go behind the scenes for a close look at one of our country’s seldom-publicized guardians.

For more on Caron, check out our interview here. For more information about the book and to order a copy of Switched On, visit the SwitchedOnLife website or visit your preferred retailer below.


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About Eric Caron:

Eric Caron is a retired U.S. Diplomat, U.S. Special Agent, HSBC Middle East Bank Executive and author. He is currently a security consultant and an analyst for Channel 7 News in Boston. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Cape Cod, where he teaches a course on How to Identify and Prevent Transnational Crime, and Cyber Security. He has held senior positions within the Department of Treasury, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and INTERPOL. Throughout his career, he successfully initiated and managed covert operations that identified and disrupted international WMD proliferation networks, terrorism, terror financing and transnational crime networks involved in drug smuggling, human trafficking and intellectual property rights (IPR) violations.

Caron is a graduate of Northeastern University, and is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS). He has completed a marathon and a triathlon and is a mixed martial artist.