When Scharf was appointed as Director General of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service he was 40 years old and one of the youngest to serve in such a position. Shortly after he joined the Service they experienced the Cartoon-crisis (the cartoons of the prophet Muhammed which were published in a Danish newspaper) after which Denmark became a priority target for Al Qaida as well as terrorist groups and terrorist networks affiliated with Al Qaida. The terrorist threat suddenly became very serious and posed a significant threat to the national security in Denmark.
The threat picture has required major changes to the capacities, competencies and strategies of the DSIS, and since 2007, it has been successful in identifying, preventing and countering a number of specific threats against Denmark and Danish interests abroad.
The dynamic and complex nature of the threats affecting national security requires national security organisations not only to be dynamic but also pro-active and progressive. Due to the serious terrorist threat against Denmark the Danish Security and Intelligence Service has had a leading role in developing a comprehensive prevention of radicalisation, robust measures to counter specific terrorist activities and an effective investigation and prosecution of terrorist.
Implementing a new legal framework, establishing public-private partnerships and ensuring more openness and transparency in the external communication have been some of the important elements in the transformation of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, and today the Danish service is recognised as one of the leading services of its kind.
During his term as Director General, he has been doing public speeches and giving interviews to the media on an ongoing basis, and after having resigned from the position he now has the opportunity to share his experiences in a more international context.