“Operationalizing Allied Maritime Strategy – Rule the Ways”

The Kiel International Seapower Symposium 2021 addresses questions pertaining to NATO’s Allied Maritime Strategy. The key tenets of the current document, published in 2011, are in need a revisiting in light of recent geopolitical developments, the reemergence of great power competition, and an ever-changing world. This year's conference is part of a series of symposia providing an assessment of NATO's Allied Maritime Strategy as well as an impetus for future EU, NATO, and national maritime strategies. After addressing strategic maritime ‘ends’ in 2018 and the ‘means’ in 2019, this year will discuss the ‘ways’ of allied maritime strategy in the 21st century.

Panel 1: Preparing for the challenges of the 21st century

Defense planners on both sides of the Atlantic share similar challenges in how to best utilize available means in order to achieve political ends. In this day and age, naval forces and their sister services must plan and prepare for an ever-increasing range of conceivable contingencies, running the gamut of the intensity spectrum: from high-end warfare against peer competitors to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in close cooperation with likeminded actors In Panel 1, senior naval leaders address these pressing issues by explaining how navies can escape the high-low conundrum, balance between the home-game and the away-game, and in what way NATO’s standing naval forces need to adapt for the future.

The first panel will be chaired by Dr. Sebastian Bruns, Center for Maritime Strategy & Security, Institute for Security Policy, Kiel.

Panel 2: Maintaining the Maritime Initiative

As international rules and norms come under pressure, NATO and the West must maintain the initiative in the maritime domain. Naval forces, large and small, need to gain a competitive advantage vis-à-vis potential adversaries as well as safeguard and uphold the good order at sea. Panel 2 illustrates the operational challenges small navies face in this regard and examines whether new forms of forward deployment and basing can be effective in addressing quickly evolving challenges.

The second panel will be chaired by Dr. Jeremy Stöhs, Non-Resident Fellow Institute for Security Policy, Kiel.

Panel 3: Real-World Operations: Plans vs. Reality

What do Helmut von Moltke the Elder, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill have in common? All three agreed that for a plan of action to be successful it must be continuously adapted to the changing environment. History is rich in examples in which even the best trained and equipped maritime forces found themselves faced with real-world operations that differed greatly from peace-time plans. Panel 3 offers a critical assessment of recent naval operation, on the one hand, and military exercises and wargaming, on the other.

The third panel will be chaired by Dr. Sarandis ‘Randy’ Papadopoulos, Department of the Navy

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The Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK) provides research, analysis and commentary on conflicts and strategic issues. ISPK is committed to furthering the security policy discourse in Germany and abroad by way of focused, interdisciplinary, policy-oriented research.

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