Main Image Credit HMS Queen Elizabeth in dock at Portsmouth. Courtesy of Kolforn/Wikimedia
This year’s Sea Power conference examined the ways in which navies will need to evolve in an age of persistent competition.
Over the course of the conference, speakers discussed some of the key trends that will shape the 21st-century operating environment, as well as the trade-offs that maritime forces will need to make moving forward. Several key themes emerged:
- Western resolve will be challenged by adversary approaches which seek to exacerbate the inherent difficulties of power projection. Asymmetries of interest between regional revisionist powers and extra-regional status quo states, as well as the difficulties inherent to sustaining forces at reach, are the strategic and operational centres of gravity at which competitor approaches are aimed.
- The ability to compete in the 21st century will require naval power to be integrated with a range of tools from across government.
- Maritime forces will face a trade-off between structuring themselves to compete or to fight at high intensity. The capabilities needed to perform each task are not identical and, indeed, may come to be fundamentally different. As such, the assumption that preparation for the high-end fight amounts to preparation for everything else is no longer sound.
Watch the event recording
Dr Sidharth Kaushal
Research Fellow, Sea Power