NATO’s Maritime Strategies and Naval Operations since 1985 (2023-2024)

In December 2022, the Institute for Security Policy Kiel University (ISPK) and the Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the German Armed Forces (ZMSBw) in Potsdam signed a cooperation agreement to conduct interdisciplinary research. The project addresses the maritime strategies of NATO, and the operations of allied naval forces, from the late Cold War to today.

Recent world events have thrust NATO navies back into the center of interest for policy-makers, military leaders, and academics alike. Allied seapower continues to be in high demand and in critical supply at the same time given international force reductions, strategic shifts, technological developments, and a string of continuous at-sea naval operations since the end of the Cold War. Given the persistent particulars of procuring, operating, maintaining, and re-generating navies, the core interest of this interdisciplinary approach is the identification of threads, strands and lines on the maritime side of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since 1985.

In its first phase (January 2023 – December 2024), researchers from ISPK and ZMSBw will conduct original research, and present and discuss findings at international conferences. Two workshops in Wilhelmshaven (Fall 2023) and Kiel (Spring 2024) will bring together experts to discuss naval strategy and allied operations through their respective navy’s national lenses. Upon completion of a peer-reviewed essay (scheduled for the winter of 2024), a second phase will be under discussion.

The project ties into allied maritime strategy aspects that the ISPK has covered at length in recent years, such as the Kiel International Seapower Symposia 2018, 2019 and 2021, and through books such as Julian Pawlak/Johannes Peters (eds.), “From the North Atlantic to the South China Sea. Allied Maritime Strategy in the 21st Century” (Nomos: Baden-Baden 2020), Jeremy Stöhs’ “The The Decline of European Naval Forces. Challenges to Sea Power in an Age of Fiscal Austerity and Political Uncertainty” (USNI Press: Annapolis 2018), and Sebastian Bruns/Joachim Krause (eds.), “Routledge Handbook of Naval Strategy and Security” (Routledge: London 2016).