Waterways Conference 2022: Obstacles and Opportunities for Manoeuvre

This conference explores how the approach to waterways needs to change to meet the modern threat environment.

calendarclock - (BST)
locationOnline / Institute of Directors, London

Members In-Person Conference Pass

£150 (excl. VAT) in-person event fee

MEMBERS ONLY

Join RUSI or

Non-Members In-Person Conference Pass

£300 (excl. VAT) in-person event fee

OPEN TO ALL

Members Online Conference Pass

£30 (excl. VAT) online event fee

MEMBERS ONLY

Join RUSI or

Non-Members Online Conference Pass

£60 (excl. VAT) online event fee

OPEN TO ALL

Overview

For centuries, waterways were the economic arteries of nations along which flowed trade, and simultaneously the natural barriers demarcating the boundaries between them. The advent of railways and of the combustion engine, which rendered rapid mobility across country ubiquitous, reduced dependence on waterways for transportation, and militaries became principally concerned with the obstacles they presented. Throughout the era of mechanised warfare, the speed with which armies could cross waterways was critical to their capacity to manoeuvre. The efficient crossing of wide wet gaps proved central to operational success, and failure, throughout the Second World War, and more recently, in the Balkans.

The capability to cross waterways has withered across NATO since the end of the Cold War, with permissive environments leading to armies of 'non-swimmers'. Few modern vehicles are amphibious, and bridging has received little sustained investment. As the world returns to an era of great power competition, however, the practicalities of gap crossing have become more complicated owing to wider changes in the operating environment.

With the proliferation of high-fidelity sensors throughout the battlefield, coupled with responsive precision fires, the emplacement of crossing points is becoming increasingly perilous. Securing a bridgehead is proving harder, and yet the need to cross waterways remains critical. Furthermore, as countries urbanise waterways are becoming increasingly complex, bisecting human terrain and constraining humanitarian access.

This conference is held in partnership between RUSI’s Combining the Arms of the Future project – supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation - the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, the Institute of Royal Engineers, and Royal Engineers Historical Society.

Speakers

Speakers include:

  • Prof Andrew Lambert
  • Lt Gen Nick Borton DSO MBE
  • Lt Gen (Retd) Carsten Jacobson
  • Maj Gen Jeff Milhorn
  • Maj Gen (Retd) Pekka Toveri
  • Brig Chas Story
  • Brigadier General Frederic Richaud

Sponsorship opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Dr Jack Watling: JackW@rusi.org

Main Image Credit HQ ARRC | Wide wet gap


Members In-Person Conference Pass

£150 (excl. VAT) in-person event fee

MEMBERS ONLY

Join RUSI or

Non-Members In-Person Conference Pass

£300 (excl. VAT) in-person event fee

OPEN TO ALL

Members Online Conference Pass

£30 (excl. VAT) online event fee

MEMBERS ONLY

Join RUSI or

Non-Members Online Conference Pass

£60 (excl. VAT) online event fee

OPEN TO ALL

Not a RUSI Member?

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Conference partners

  • The Institute of Royal Engineers

    Partners of the Waterways Conference

    Find out more
  • The Royal Engineers Historical Society

    Partners of the Waterways Conference

    Find out more
  • Allied Rapid Reaction Corps

    Partners of the Waterways Conference

    Find out more
  • RUSI project: Combining the Arms of the Future

    The project maps the interactions between emerging and legacy technologies, and seeks to identify how tactical manoeuvre elements will organise and fight over the coming decades.

    Find out more

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