Preparing for the future – Naval Warfare 2040

The Kiel International Seapower Symposium 2022 (KISS22) returns as an in-person event. This year’s iteration will be twofold: On day 1, hand-selected experts from the allied militaries, academia, and the policy-world will gather as Europe’s dedicated maritime security forum to argue about naval futures. On day 2, the focus will be more immediate Baltic Sea security issues and Germany’s role.  

Russia´s illegal war against Ukraine is a grim reminder for the need of collective defence. Yet, it demonstrates only one aspect of future challenges. While state actors, namely Russia and China, remain the pacing challenges, they often exploit non-state actors to actually fight those conflicts. In parallel, cyber and space evolved into own domains, expanding the warfighting horizons. Complexity is further increased by the broad spectrum of possible scenarios and the interconnection of a globalised economy – one state may by trading with another, while at the same time compete in another domain and even being attacked in a third by the very same. The Baltic Sea region and Germany’s role are not exempt from such grave challenges.

Operators, planers and naval strategists alike have to adapt to this new complexity when thinking about the future while handling the present. Welcome to Kiel, welcome to #KISS22!



Panel I (Keynote): The world we might live in 2040

In today’s world supply chains for the flow of goods and data span all across the globe. While this interconnectivity has become the mainstay of our globalized economy, societies are under immense pressure: An ever-growing global population with its demand for food, water, or clean air faces climate change, demographic challenges, and significant if not catastrophic disruptions. Aggressive populism is on the rise worldwide. At the same time, research is making breakthroughs around the world. Promising new technologies like AI and big data question our traditional ideas of production, work share, mobility, eventually challenging the very fabric of our societies. How will all this affect life in 2040? Where will change be disruptive, where incremental, where will it be “rolled back”? Is our idea of maritime security still in line with the “global society”? The keynote aims at setting the tone for the day in providing a tour d´horizon to the year 2040.

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Krahl, President OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lemgo, Germany

Moderator: Johannes Peters, Head of the Center for Maritime Strategy and Security at ISPK


Panel II: “The fundamental shift of 2022 between Russia and the West and implications between now and 2040”

Russia´s illegal war against Ukraine marked a watershed moment for the post-Cold War security architecture and illustrates the immanent need for collective defence and a robust allied deterrence posture. 
The 2021 NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept (NWCC) proclaims to provide a ‘North Star’ and an organising principle for warfare development for the next two decades to the alliance and non-allied partners.  How do different navies navigate by this star and does it still provides the right bearing? How do they define their role in this organising principle and where do they set their priorities to best support the articulated goals of the NWCC defined in the “six-out´s”: to out-think, out-excel, out-fight, out-pace, out-partner, and out-last any threat or challenge? How could or should these issues and maritime security be reflected in NATO’s next Strategic Concept and/or a revised Alliance Maritime Strategy?

Moderator: Dr. Alix Valenti


Panel III: Does naval planning match future requirements?

Challenges for naval procurement planners are manifold: Integration of unmanned systems, ensuring connectivity with partners, and use of commercial of the shelf systems to avoid tech-flation. At the same time, maintaining the technological edge is critical in the global competition for security and/or markets. Despite more automatization and the “trend to unmanned”, current projects like the Ford-class carrier, AUKUS, the European frigate programs or the Chinese naval build-up show that navies still stick to large manned platforms as their future top-tier assets. Are these costly, time-consuming programs still the way to stay fit for purpose? What would be the pros and cons of alternative concepts? How can innovation and quick implementation be paired? What does naval procurement 2040 look like?

Moderator: Dr Alix Valenti

Picture: Skeldar V-200 an Bord (Foto: UMS)


Panel IV: A nation’s and an alliance’s best and brightest

Multi-domain operations require capable, educated and able commanders and officers capable to oversee complex crisis scenarios and utilize their various assets in the best possible way. To operate highly automated, cutting-edge platforms, more subject matter experts and less deckhands are needed. Nevertheless, armed forces are often stuck in branch-related drawer thinking and traditional recruiting concepts in regard of personnel. How must training and education across all ranks be adapted to generate crews capable of future naval warfighting? What is the role of think tanks and service academies to support a broad public understanding of seapower and to educate leaders in the opportunities and challenges of navies?

Moderator: Dr. Alix Valenti

Picture: LCDR Christina Sears USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs Officer.





VADM Eugene "Gene" H. Black III
VADM Eugene "Gene" H. Black III Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa
VADM Keith E. Blount
VADM Keith E. Blount Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command
RADM Christian Bock
RADM Christian Bock Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, Hamburg
Dr. Sebastian Bruns
Dr. Sebastian Bruns McCain Fulbright Distinguished Visiting Professor USNA emerit.
RADM Luis del Carpio
RADM Luis del Carpio Director Peruvian Naval War College
Bryan Clark
Bryan Clark Director of the Center for Defense Concepts and Technology at Hudson Institute
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Krahl
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Krahl President of the OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts
VADM Frank Lenski
VADM Frank Lenski Commander of the German Fleet and Supporting Forces, Vice Chief of the German Navy
Captain (N) Christoph Mecke
Captain (N) Christoph Mecke Head of Naval Concepts and Development Branch, German Navy Headquarters
CDR Anders Puck Nielsen
CDR Anders Puck Nielsen Royal Danish Defence College
Emma Salisbury
Emma Salisbury University of London & UK Parliament
Bruce B. Stubbs
Bruce B. Stubbs U.S. Department of Defense
Johannes Peters
Johannes Peters Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University
Dr. Jeremy Stöhs
Dr. Jeremy Stöhs Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies
Alix Valenti
Dr. Alix Valenti Conference Chair


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.

In Cooperation with


The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is a political foundation. In Germany, 16 regional offices offer a wide variety of civic education conferences and events. Our offices abroad are in charge of over 200 projects in more than 120 countries. The foundation’s headquarters are situated in Sankt Augustin near Bonn, and also in Berlin. There, an additional conference center, named “The Academy”, was opened in 1998.
We are proud to bear the name of Konrad Adenauer. The first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany’s name and principles are our guidelines, duty, and obligation. Established in 1955 as “Society for Christian-Democratic Civic Education”, the Foundation took on the name of the first Federal Chancellor in 1964.