Executive Protection Academy

Executive Protection Academy

The attack on Shinzo Abe, a sign of the crisis in global executive protection.

The slapping of French President Emmanuel Macron, the attack with a rock on Chilean President Gabriel Boric, the attack with a water bottle on his predecessor Piñera, aggressions using eggs against several European presidential candidates and other recent events, showed the vulnerability of the world's top executives. Several specialists in different forums agree that an assassination during a public event is only a matter of time.

Sadly this prophecy was fulfilled yesterday when former Prime Minister, and one of Japan's most influential political figures, Shinzo Abe was assassinated. The politician was shot dead in the middle of the street on Friday, July 8, in the southern Japanese city of Nara, while giving a speech at an election event. Yamagami Tetsuya, a 41-year-old former member of Japan's armed forces, shot the former leader in the back with a homemade gun.

According to both Reuters and The Japan Times, Shinzo Abe had an unquantified team of armed protectors, who, as in other similar cases, failed to even draw their weapons, and were only able to subdue the attacker empty-handed after he mortally wounded the former president.

As the aforementioned benign attacks have already shown, the protection of several world leaders lacks a coherent and effective operational structure, which essentially relies on the blof of armed agents in suits, who no longer scare anyone. The executive protection is a system of logistics and planning that reduces the executive's exposure to risk, not an armed confrontation in the style of the old West. Such planning and logistics were conspicuous by their absence in the Nara attack.

Shinzo Abe was giving a speech, fully exposed in the middle of the avenue, without any additional measures to reduce his exposure, where it is practically impossible to protect him. This Reuters image says more than a thousand words:

As we can see, the former prime minister was exposed in what we call 540 degrees, that is, 360 degrees around him and 180 degrees above him, as the photo clearly shows the vulnerabilities that the executive had also from the tall buildings surrounding the crime scene. There is no amount of personnel or weaponry that could have protected the politician from such a large exposure, generated by this inconceivable logistical failure.

It is important to note that, in this type of event, the presence of "shadow agents", infiltrated among the crowd, with the task of issuing an early warning and surprising the aggressor, is essential. Shinzo Abe's entire protection team was very easy to identify, which additionally facilitated the aggressor's work.

Even so, all these measures would have been of little use, since, in the face of this colossal logistical failure, the possibility of reducing risks with other measures was minimal.