German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has joined the list of world leaders who have experienced failures in their personal protection. This incident, which occurred recently at Frankfurt Airport, has highlighted the vulnerability of world leaders in an increasingly dangerous world. Emmanuel Macron, Iván Duque, Gabriel Boric, King Charles III of England, and many other leaders have experienced similar attacks, demonstrating that the concept of traditional executive protection is outdated and ineffective today.
In the case of Olaf Scholz, an unknown driver joined the convoy of the German chancellor without being detected. The driver managed to reach the runway where Scholz’s aircraft was located and hugged Scholz without his protection agents being able to intervene in time.
It is concerning that despite the large number of vehicles and motorcycles in the chancellor’s convoy, no one noticed the presence of the unregistered vehicle. This demonstrates that a large protection force is not necessarily effective. Instead, smaller, well-communicated groups operating in different circles in the depth of the operational zone can be more effective in detecting anomalies in advance and alerting promptly.
The ineffectiveness of the cumbersome and outdated convoys, these “operational dinosaurs” from the 1960s, has been demonstrated in numerous attacks in recent decades, and this incident at Frankfurt Airport is further evidence of their limitations if other operational elements are not available.
In addition, counter-surveillance operatives were absent in this case, asif there had been a counter-surveillance team, the intruder would have been immediately identified. Finally, it would be redundant to comment on the last-minute reaction failure of the close protection team, since, as statistics show, these groups historically fail practically every time they are tested.
It is important to note that the chancellor’s protection team must be careful not to consider this incident as a “tune-up” for them, as a similar incident occurred a few months before the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
In summary, the security failure at Frankfurt Airport involving German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is a sign that the current executive protection system is outdated and needs to be modernized and improved. Diamond formations, weapons, and cumbersome convoys no longer deter attackers. A radical change in understanding and practicing executive protection is required to reduce risks and save the lives of both protectors and protected individuals.