28 - 30 January, 2020 | Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington, London, United Kingdom

A Welcome from our 2020 Chairman


This January we welcome Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent KCB CBE, former Commander-in-Chief Fleet of the Royal Navy as the 10th annual Surface Warships Conference Chairman to share his insights and facilitate the exchanges of ideas during in-depth panel discussion and networking sessions.

An Introduction to the 2020 Chairman

Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent KCB CBE, former Commander-in-Chief Fleet of the Royal Navy, was educated at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Burnell-Nugent joined the Royal Navy in 1971. He commanded the conventional submarine HMS OLYMPUS and the nuclear submarine HMS CONQUEROR and then went on to command the frigate HMS BRILLIANT as well as the 2nd Frigate Squadron in 1992. He became Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff in 1999. As Commander United Kingdom Maritime Commander of the UK Joint Force and the Deputy Maritime Commander of the Coalition for the first 6 months of the War in Afghanistan. On promotion to Vice Admiral, he took up the post of Second Sea Lord and Commander-inChief Naval Home Command in 2003. On 15 November 2005, he was promoted to Admiral and took up his position as Commander-in-Chief Fleet. He also held the honorary position of Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom from 2005 to 2007.

Welcome Letter

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the 2020 Surface Warships Conference. Our purpose is to continue exploring the impact of the rapidly morphing threat environment on naval power projection and ship construction. Bringing together the higher naval commands from across the globe, the conference is the premier forum for the maritime community.

All maritime forces face increasing challenges in their operating environment, whether regional or global. Ranging from current challenges to the rules-based system of international order, to the fast increasing capabilities of all forms of criminality, nearly all platforms, whether ageing or brand new, will sooner or later find themselves in totally unexpected circumstances. Will digitization increase flexibility to cope with this, or will it bring unmanageable levels of complexity, or even operational vulnerabilities? How can networks be hardened to benefit from rapidly emerging technologies?

Meanwhile, there is a return to great power competition, as opponents incorporate long-range missiles and announce ambitious shipbuilding programmes. In order to reinforce maritime superiority and sea control, navies need to rethink their shipbuilding strategies and retain forward operating and persistently visible forces.

The Surface Warships Conference allows the exchange of knowledge in the field of ship design, construction, and operations across the entire spectrum of surface warships – identifying solutions for modernisation and enhanced interoperability to maintain the competitive edge against near-peer opponents and asymmetric threats. The 2020 forum will focus on reinforcing and building maritime capability for the digital era, addressing the current and future battlespace, technological development, disruptive innovation, and anticipated platform modernisation and acquisition.

Apart from formal presentations and discussions, the conference will facilitate the exchange of ideas during networking sessions. I hope that you will make the most of these breaks and we very much look forward to meeting you in January.

Yours sincerely,

Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent KCB CBE Former Commander-in-Chief Fleet,

Royal Navy Chairman,

Surface Warships 2020


Find Out More

Join the 10th annual Surface Warships conference this January (28-30) in London, as we welcome over 150 officials will join to discuss the critical issues surrounding future technology, future operations and the future force structure at the premier meeting ground for the higher naval commands of the NATO alliance and partner states. 

Find out more here



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