For decades, executive protection, at all levels, was based solely on the use of a certain number of people, armed and in suits, whose main objective was to dissuade with their presence any attempt of aggression against the protected person. Over time, in many countries, such a strategy was sufficient, as crime rates in various regions were not as high. Of course, there have been many attacks against executives worldwide in this time, however, despite this, this scheme of work was still considered functional.
The escorts were expected to look as threatening as possible, their body language was aggressive, their suits were dark and their vests were brown, full of bags and flags, displaying their weapons at all times. It could be said that the skills they developed were more artistic than operational.
We would say that the system was based on deterrence and reaction. However, deterrence is real only if it is effective; that is, the attacker knows that, if he acts, there is a high probability that his actions will be thwarted. As has already been proven, reaction is effective in only 5 % of cases, so it is clear that the real basis of traditional executive protection is not deterrence, but a simple blof. The rising crime rates in Latin America prove this, as in Mexico alone during the last year we had several escorts and protectees injured or killed in different types of attacks, including random carjackings.
These facts divide the world into two groups: countries and regions where the blof still functions and countries and regions where the blof is no longer sufficient. Latin America, unfortunately, belongs to this second group of countries where protectors must perform much more than ornamental functions.
Something similar is also happening at the presidential security level, since the recent attacks against different presidents, such as the slapping of French President Emmanuel Macron, the stone thrown at Chilean President Gabriel Boric, as well as the attack with a water bottle against his predecessor, Sebastián Piñera, prove that, even at this level, there is no system for early detection of threats, that senior executives are vulnerable and that the aggressors understood that all this charade is nothing more than a blof that is easy to bend.
Of course, I do not mean to say that the whole process of traditional executive protection is a simulation, as it also has real elements that give it some effectiveness. What I want to emphasize is that in modern executive protection, we must stop implementing blof (as it is counterproductive) and continue to develop operating models that favor evasion and early detection of threats to make this profession safer for both protectees and protectors.