2022 Conference Theme

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The Grey Zone: Undersea Technologies to Protect Maritime Trade, Operations & Infrastructure

In the post-Afghanistan and Iraq operational era, UDT 2022 offers an opportunity to explore another aspect of underwater defence and security that is of increasing importance to navies and governments worldwide: The Grey Zone

Our experts will dive deep into this topic, whilst also addressing 6 conference pillars.

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Background information

An increasing number of ‘events’ have occurred in the space between political diplomacy and war. The grey zone’s complexity, ambiguity and importance has been widely recognised by military planners and governments.  Populations, industries and wealth continue growing their dependence on sea lanes of communication, offshore industries, and seabed infrastructure.  Given our ability to monitor much of the activity in space, on the earth’s surface and airspace, the undersea provides a significant opportunity for those wishing to conduct grey zone operations.

We have already witnessed grey zone type operations and, in most cases, they are well thought-out, use off the shelf technologies (drones etc) and are plausibly deniable at a governmental level.  If planned and executed well, these attacks can avoid categorical attribution whilst also avoiding a substantial military reprisal, and yet can potentially contribute significantly to the long-term strategic goals of the aggressor. While clearly a navigational incident, the blocking of the Suez Canal serves to illustrate the vulnerability of our seaways.


Keynote speech from Vice Admiral Nick Hine CB at DSEI 2021

A bird’s eye view of Vice Admiral Nick Hine CB’s honourable background:

Vice Admiral Nick Hine CB was commissioned in the Royal Navy in 1985. As a warfare officer with a predominant submarine background, he has served in a variety of diesel and nuclear submarines and undertaken several surface vessel and staff appointments. 

He was the first submariner to have completed the inaugural Specialist Navigation course, and was awarded the prestigious Howard-Johnston Memorial Sword in 1993. Through the years, he gained extensive operational experience from tours in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan. In fact, as an Acting Commodore he was responsible for the reconstruction of the Iraqi Navy in 2009. In recognition of his efforts, he was also awarded the US Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal.


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