Executive Protection Academy

Executive Protection Academy

Attack on Slovakia's Prime Minister: 1960s manuals are useless

On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, the world witnessed a shocking attack on the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico. The incident occurred in the town of Handlová in the center of the country at the end of a government meeting.

Fico was in front of a crowd, separated by a security fence that is commonly used in such circumstances. He was talking to some citizens when shots were fired. The officers reacted quickly, but, as is often the case in such reactions, too late. The Prime Minister was shot several times in the stomach and was taken by helicopter to the hospital, where his condition was described as "very serious".

The attacker, a 71-year-old man from the town of Levice in the southeast of the country, was arrested at the scene of the attack.

Unfortunately, most of the dignitary protection services operate with manuals from the 1960s without realizing that this concept has been superseded. The device set up is the classic scheme of placing the agents in line along the fence which, as it turned out, is useless and even hinders more than it facilitates.

Managing the exact points of exposure and shadow agents, placed in advance at these points to gather intelligence, detect dangerous behavior early and react surprisingly before the attack, are the key to protection at public events.

Also, it is very likely that this person has staked out the attack site at least a day before, as most attackers of this profile do. Counter-surveillance in the days leading up to the event is of key importance in these circumstances.


Sadly, these manuals from the 1960s are still in use despite their obvious ineffectiveness. The only way to thwart an attack is before it happens, and for this we have many tools that we must know and apply. Only in this way can we make our profession safer for both protectees and protectors.