The Kiel International Seapower Symposium (KISS) is a one-day international conference held during Kiel Week, Northern Europe’s largest annual maritime festival and a traditional naval event. The symposium’s objective is to discuss current matters pertaining to seapower, which is broadly understood as a broad set of maritime issues and those naval, commercial, and policy implications stemming from it.
KISS will complement the Kiel Week with a long-desired international strategic event that will draw international expertise to the city. Moreover, it will contribute to Germany’s increasingly important role in Europe and the NATO Alliance. The symposium is an opportunity to meet thought leaders as well as to articulate and critically discuss novel naval / maritime ideas. The event builds on a string of similar conferences. It draws on Kiel’s rich maritime and naval heritage: as a naval base; a renowned port city; home to leading submarine technology, maritime strategic research, and oceanographic expertise; and as the namesake to the busiest artificial waterway in the world, the Kiel Canal.
The acronym KISS is a deliberate reference to the US Navy’s principle established in the 1960s by the late Rear Admiral (USN) Paul D. Stroop, “Keep it short and simple” (sometimes also as “Keep simple and straightforward”). The symposium is guided by the idea that in Europe, there are too many conferences where commonplaces are the norm; the Kiel International Seapower Symposium offers a forum for straight talk founded in sound academic research and hard operational experience.
KISS brings together hand-picked experts from the following fields: allied and international military (in particular naval, army, and air force ranks OF-4 and up), academia (in particular maritime security experts from the fields of political science, history, and law; from civilian universities and service academies), policy-makers (in particular from Berlin, Brussels, multinational commands, and allied capitals), and selected industry representatives from the maritime defense sector.
In particular, KISS strengthens the civilian-military dialogue among experts and reinforces ties between academia and navies. It also aims to include selected young professionals to seapower by providing hand-picked next-generation decision-makers with an opportunity to interact with senior operators, scientists, and policy-makers. Participation at this event is by invitation only and deliberately limited to allow for proper dialogue.
The Kiel International Seapower Symposium is conducted under the “Chatham House Rule”. The seapower strategic enterprise is the key objective and topics, panelists, and discussants should be selected based on this purpose. The organizers are committed to provide participants and speakers with an opportunity to learn something new and to stir up lively discussions. KISS is a novel event first conducted in 2017.