(Re-) Learning War - Lessons from the Black Sea

The Kiel International Seapower Symposium (KISS) returns!

KISS – Europe’s dedicated maritime strategy forum – will once again coincide with Kiel Week: Northern Europe’s largest maritime festival and a traditional naval event overlapping with the annual BALTOPS exercise.

Although primarily understood as a land war, Russia’s war against Ukraine clearly has naval and maritime aspects to it. War at sea has returned to Europe, and it is happening in the Black Sea theater. It does not pit fleets against one another, but rather an overwhelming but vulnerable navy against a much smaller but agile player equipped with anti-ship missiles, naval drones, and more. Maritime critical infrastructure (bridges, dams, offshore platforms, natural islands) are part of consideration for the warfighting parties. But is the Black Sea a useful template for the next war at sea? Or is it a potentially dangerous diversion for Western navies, their defense-industrial bases, and their academic analysts?
KISS24 titled "(Re-) Learning War – Lessons from the Black Sea" will address some of these challenges using the traditional format of a one-day summit of experts from academia, policy, the military, and NGOs.

 

Session I: Setting the Scene

 

 

Session II: War in the Black Sea

Although primarily understood as a land war, Russia’s war against Ukraine clearly has naval and maritime aspects to it. War at sea has returned to Europe, and it is happening in the Black Sea theater. It does not pit fleets against one another, but rather an overwhelming but vulnerable navy against a much smaller but agile player equipped with anti-ship missiles, naval drones, and more. Maritime critical infrastructure (bridges, dams, offshore platforms, natural islands) are part of consideration for the warfighting parties. Amphibious raids or even landings remain far and few. Mines, cruise missiles, and aircraft threaten Ukraine port infrastructure – and grain corridor sea-lines of communication. Jeune École 2.0, anyone? What role for the Black Sea in the conflict? What are implications for Russian naval strategy and fleet size – and for a future Ukrainian navy? How has the Montreux Convention shaped the wet battlefield?

 

Picture by: Petty Officer 2nd Class Claire DuBois

 

Session III: High Level Keynote Conversation

NATO celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2024 – and is returning to its maritime roots faster than expected. The panel will share perspectives on seapower and strategic lessons from the conflict from the Black Sea, to include other theatres such as the Northern flank and the Mediterranean where Allied and foreign naval forces operate in possibly contested waters, and aim at providing a forward-looking view of “NATO at 80” – needs and opportunities for navies in 2029.

 

Picture by: Petty Officer 2nd Class Ezekiel Duran

 

Session IV: Black Sea naval events - implications for Europe and the U.S.

The panel will pick up where the morning sessions’ left us. It will discuss whether the Black Sea is a useful template for the next war at sea or whether it is a potentially dangerous diversion for Western navies, their defense-industrial bases, and their academic analysts. Panelists will share perspectives on regional issues from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean, and from the unsung heroes of seapower: logistics and maritime law(fare).

 

Picture by: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jack D. Aistrup

 

Registration

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Impressions

Speakers

Dr. Salvatore Mercogliano
Dr. Salvatore Mercogliano Associate Professor at Campbell University, North Carolina
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