ESSAY CONTESTS BACKGROUND & RULES

The Institute's essay program aligns perfectly with our mission:

"To provide an independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write in order to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense."

The subjects examined by the vast Naval community of those who think deeply and consider the successes, failures and future of maritime and national security policy cover a broad range of fascinating, critical topics, some of which are listed below. Individual essay contests are generally made possible with support from commercial defense contractors, whose interest in encouraging new ideas surrounding specific topics lines up with the Institute's mission to host such discussions. The centerpiece of the Institute's essay program is the General Prize.

The General Prize Essay contest is perhaps the oldest continuously conducted writing contest in the entire United States. The Institute began work on the Contest in 1878 under the leadership of the most recognized and celebrated Naval Strategist in United States history, Alfred Thayer Mahan, then the Chairman of the Naval Institute.

Lieutenant Commander Allan D. Brown first proposed the idea for an essay contest sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute for "a paper which shall be deemed the best" on 9 May 1878 at the organization's meeting in Annapolis. The first contest was in 1879. The name of the contest was changed in 1985 to the Arleigh Burke Essay Contest in honor of the World War II hero, former Chief of Naval Operations, and President of the Naval Institute. The name reverted to the General Prize in 2008. Today, the prizes honor the first, second, and third best articles published in Proceedings over the previous year, from October through September of the succeeding year.

Essay Contest may be found here.

Watch the pages of Proceedings and the usni.org home page for announcements concerning upcoming essay contests.

Essay Contests - 2000 to Present

2016 Emerging & Disruptive Technologies Essay Contest Sponsored with Leidos
First PrizeSean Cate and Jesse SlomanOperating Under Constant Surveillance
2016 NPS Foundation & U.S. Naval Institute Annual Essay Contest Award
WinnerCaptain Christopher A. Bartos, U.S. Marine CorpsCyber Weapons Are Not Created Equal
2016 Enlisted Prize Essay Contest Sponsored with Textron Systems
First PrizeHospital Corpsman Second Class Crystal Tao, U.S. Navy ReserveShare Who We Are
Third PrizeMaritime Enforcement Chief Petty Officer Kurt Yockel, U.S. Coast GuardNo Border, No Nation
Third PrizeSenior Chief Lance M. Connolly, U.S. NavyVisit, Board, Search, and Seizure Teams Need More Time to Train
2016 Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest
SubmarineEnsign Gavin Fuller, U.S. NavySubmarines Reign Supreme
MarineSecond Lieutenant Robert Vachon, U.S. Marine CorpsEmbrace the Digital-Native Marines
AviationEnsign Shane Kravetz, U.S. NavyPivot to the Pacific -- At Hypersonic Speed
SEALEnsign Joseph Dinkel, U.S. NavySEAL Training is a Choice
2016 Cyber Essay Contest Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise
First PrizeJames Young Jr.To Rule the Ether...
Second PrizeLieutenant Blake Herzinger, U.S. NavyCyber Secrecy Undermines Deterrence
2016 International Navies Essay Contest Sponsored by Leonardo Finmeccanica
First PrizeSteven Paget, Ph.D.Navies Must Develop a Multinational Mind-Set
2015 Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest
AviationEnsign Max Chomic, U.S. NavyThe Missing Link
MarineSecond Lieutenant Colton Oviatt, U.S. Marine CorpsFrom War to Peace--and Back
SubmarineEnsign Vigneshwar Manickam, U.S. NavySubmariners in Space
Surface WarfareEnsign Christopher Hein, U.S. NavyA Question of Retention
2015 Information Dominance Essay Contest sponsored by HP
First PrizeCommander John M. Dahm, U.S. NavyNext Exit: Joint Information Environment
Second PrizeLieutenant Jeffrey B. Hunter, U.S. NavyUpdating the Joint Information Environment
Third PrizeLieutenant (jg) Benjamin Morris, U.S. NavyData & Design
2015 International Navies Essay Contest sponsored by Finmeccanica North America / DRS Technologies
First PrizeCaptain Sam Tangredi, U.S. Navy (Retired)A 'Black Rack' Solution?
Second PrizeLieutenant Commander Onege Maroadi, U.S. NavyGhana: A Rising Star in the Maritime Domain
Third PrizeLieutenant John F. Tanalega, U.S. NavyA Sling for Goliath
2015 Innovation & Risk Essay Contest sponsored by Engility
First PrizeCaptain Terry Pierce, U.S. Navy (Retired)Learning to Ride Tsunamis
Second PrizeLieutenant Colonel Frank G. Hoffman, U. S. Marine Corps Reserve (Retired)How We Bridged a Wartime 'Learning Gap'
Third PrizeLieutenant Roger Misso, U.S. NavyInnovation Is Initiative
2015 Leadership Essay Contest: A U.S. Naval Institute Program in Partnership with Dr. J. Phillip London and CACI International
First PrizeLieutenant Commander Jason Shell, U.S. NavyLeading Outside Command
Second PrizeEnsign Justin K. Chock, U.S. NavyCritical-Thought Leaders Achieve Best Outcomes
Third PrizeLieutenant Matthew Farrell, U.S. NavyThe Cycle of Leadership
Third PrizeCaptain Rafiel Deon Warfield, U.S. Marine Corps#Leadership (Hashtag Leadership)
2015 Enlisted Prize Essay Contest sponsored by Textron Systems
First PrizeSergeant Dion J. Edon Jr., U.S. Marine CorpsSucceeding in the Human Domain
Second PrizeChief Electrician's Mate Clinton Anderson, U.S. Navy ReserveUntangle the Navy's Web Portals
Third PrizeHospital Corpsman Ryan Zieno, U.S. NavyThe New Navy: It's Here
2015 Naval Mine Warfare Essay Contest sponsored by the Mine Warfare Association
First PrizeCommander Timothy McGeehan and Commander Douglas Wahl (Retired), U.S. NavyFlash Mob in the Shipping Lane!
2015 General Prize Essay Contest
First PrizeLieutenant Commander Jared M. Wilhelm, U.S. Navy@AdmNelson
Second PrizeCommander Brendan Stickles, U.S. NavyTwilight of Manned Flight?
Third PrizeFleet Master Chief Petty Officer Paul Kingsbury, U.S. NavyWhat Makes the CPO Mess Tick
2015 Naval History Essay Contest sponsored by The William M. Wood Foundation
First PrizeLieutenant Colonel George S. Converse, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)A Most Timely Skirmish
Second PrizeSalvatore R. MercoglianoSemper Sealift
THird PrizeLieutenant Commander Richard S. Lee, Chaplain Corps, U.S. NavyJapanese Success at Okinawa
2014 Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest
SWOEnsign Garland Christopher III, U.S. NavyThe Timeless Naval Officer
SubmarineEnsign Alexander Yachanin, U.S. NavySemper Deep!
MarinesSecond Lieutenant Jean-Luc Currie, U.S. Marine CorpsLessons for Lieutenants
AviationEnsign Andy Felix, U.S. NavyIs the Sun Setting on the Greyhound?
2014 Naval Mine Warfare Essay Contest sponsored by the Mine Warfare Association
First PrizeDr. Joshua A. Edwards and Captain Dennis M. Gallagher, U.S. Navy ReserveMine and Undersea Warfare for the Future
Second PrizePeter von BleichertTerrorist Naval Mines/Underwater Improvised Explosive Devices
Third PrizeDr. Scott TruverPosition Open: USN Mine Warfare Champion
2014 Information Dominance Essay Contest sponsored by HP
First PrizeLieutenant Peyton Price, U.S. NavyNaval Constraints in a Joint Environment
Second PrizeCaptain Douglas A. Powers, U.S. NavyProtect Our Cyberspace
Third PrizeLieutenant Nathan M. Rolfe, U.S. Navy ReserveThe Joint Information Environment Exploits Cyberspace
2014 Naval History Essay Contest sponsored by The William M. Wood Foundation
First PrizeCaptain Richard M. Miller, U.S. NavyA Perfect American Victory
Second PrizeSenior Chief Petty Officer Dennis L. Noble, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)The Enlisted Force's Scribe
Third PrizeEnsign Samuel Oat-Judge, U.S. NavySailor, Prisoner, Captain, Spy
2014 Global Defense Burden Essay Contest sponsored by DRS Technologies/A Finmeccanica Company
First PrizeLieutenant (junior grade) Chris Pagenkopf, U.S. NavyCooperation is the Key to NATO's Future
Second PrizeCommander Corry J. Kucik, Medical Corps, U.S. NavyWhat's in a Name?--Why the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Future Lies Far from the North Atlantic
Third PrizePer Bigum Christensen, Technical Director of the Royal Danish NavyLeveraging the Global Defense Market in Tight National Budgets
2014 Leadership Essay Contest sponsored by Dr. J. Phillip London and CACI International
First PrizeEnsign Jesse Burroughs, U.S. NavyStoic Leadership for the Junior Officer
Second PrizeCaptain Rafiel D. Warfield, U.S. Marine Corps3 Letters: The difference between failING and being a failURE
Third PrizeLieutenant Michael Mabrey, U.S. NavyLead Us!
Honorable MentionCaptain James P. Donovan, U.S. Marine Corps ReserveRuthless Self-Reflection: Integrating the most important leadership trait into a highly effective leadership persona
Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander Jeff Janaro, U.S. Coast GuardLeadership Development On Board the EAGLE
2014 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeLieutenant Commander Wolf Melbourne, U.S. NavyOperating in an Age of Austerity
Second PrizeLieutenant Ryan Hilger, U.S. NavyThe Coming Era of 'Omnispatial Warfare'
Third PrizeLieutenant Roger Misso, U.S. NavySea Power & Fortitude
2013 Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest
AviationEnsign Anthony C. Robinson, U.S. NavySolving the Navy’s Tactical Aircraft Crisis
SubmarineEnsign William Harris, U.S. NavyThe Silent Service’s Success in the Pacific
Surface WarfareSecond Lieutenant Katie Whitcombe, U.S. Marine CorpsA Cultural Rebalancing
U.S. NavyEnsign Robert Van Winter, USNThe Tuned-In Leader
2013 Global Defense Burden Essay Contest sponsored by DRS Technologies/A Finmeccanica Company
First PrizeLieutenant Ryan Hilger, U.S. NavyModernize NATO for the 21st Century
Second PrizeLieutenant (junior grade) Matthew Hipple, U.S. NavyNATO Learning Alliance
Third PrizeTom SpahnThe Three Key Phases of Technology Sharing Partnerships
2013 Naval Mine Warfare Essay Contest sponsored by the Mine Warfare Association
First PrizeCommander Thomas S. Reynolds, U.S. Navy (Retired)Learning from IEDs
Second PrizePeter von BleichertMines Can Wait. Can We?
Third PrizeLieutenant Colonel Michael F. Trevett, U.S. Army (Retired)Naval Mine Warfare: Historic, Political-Military Lessons of an Asymmetric Weapon
2013 Leadership Essay Contest sponsored by Dr. J. Phillip London and CACI International
First PrizeLieutenant Erik Sand, U.S. NavyTriggering Innovation and Initiative
Second PrizeCaptain Justin P. Gray, U.S. Marine CorpsThe Pillar of Leadership
Third PrizeLieutenant Kurt Albaugh, U.S. NavyEmpathy: Long-Haul Sustainer
Honorable Mention VariousHonorable Mentions
2013 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCaptain Jim Howe, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired), and Lieutenant Jim Dolbow, U.S. Coast Guard ReserveReinvent the Fifth Armed Service, Quickly
Second PrizeCommander Dale C. Rielage, U.S. NavyParsing the Chinese Challenge
Third PrizeRear Admiral Robert O. Wray Jr., U.S. NavyThe Utility of a Three-Tiered Navy
2013 Unmanned Maritime Systems Essay Contest and Forum sponsored by Textron Systems and Bell Helicopter
First PrizeCommander Michael J. Dobbs, U.S. Navy (Retired)Unman Your Battle Stations!
First PrizeLieutenant Ryan Hilger, U.S. NavyA Few Disruptive Thoughts
Third PrizeEnsigns Shane Halton and Chris O’Keefe, U.S. NavyThe Future of Unmanned Operations is Unmanned Analysis
Honorable MentionVariousHonorable Mentions
2012 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCaptain Gerard D. Roncolato, U.S. Navy (Retired)America Must Be Careful Where it Pivots
Second PrizeCommander Brian McGuirk, U.S. NavyRekindling the Killer Extinct
Third PrizeLieutenant (junior grade) Mathew Hipple, U.S. NavyCloud Combat: Thinking Machines in Future Wars
2012 Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest
MarinesSecond Lieutenant David Tan, U.S. Marine CorpsAdaptive Thinkers & Warriors
MarinesSecond Lieutenant Andrew S. King, U.S. Marine CorpsConstant Convictions
SWOEnsign Franklyn Lee Dahlberg III, U.S. NavyThe Changing Face of Command
SWOEnsign Claire Wasko, U.S. NavyStill Relevant
2011 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeDr. Milan VegoTechnological Superiority Is Not a Panacea
First PrizeDr. Milan VegoChina's Naval Challenge
First PrizeDr. Milan VegoAirSea Battle Must Not Work Alone
Second PrizeLieutenant Commander Matthew Harper, U.S. NavyChinese Missiles and the Walmart Factor
Third PrizeCaptain Kevin Eyer, U.S. Navy (Retired)How Are the Mighty Fallen
Third PrizeCommander In H. Ha, U.S. NavyAway All . . . Hovercraft!
2010 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCaptain Victor G. Addison Jr., U.S. NavyYou Can't Always Give What You Want
First PrizeCaptain Victor G. Addison Jr., U.S. NavyGot Sea Control?
First PrizeCaptain Victor G. Addison Jr., U.S. NavyThe Answer Is the Carrier Strike Group...Now, What Was the Question?
First PrizeCaptain Victor G. Addison Jr., U.S. NavyThe Joint Force's "Wildcat Offense"
Second PrizeDr. Joe DiRenzo III and Vice Admiral James D. Hull, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)Braced for the Next Response
Third PrizeCaptain Brian J. Donlon, U.S. Marine CorpsWhere’s the Special Trust and Confidence?
Third PrizeKirk RossWhat Really Happened at Wanat
2009 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeKirk RossWhere Marines Could Be Marines
Second PrizeCommander Henry J. Hendrix, U.S. NavyBuy Fords, Not Ferraris
Third PrizeBarrett TillmanFear and Loathing in the Post-Naval Era
Third PrizeAndrew Erickson and David YangOn the Verge of a Game-Changer
2008 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeColonel Mark Cancian, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)Capitalizing on al Qaeda's Mistakes
Second PrizeLieutenant Daniel A. Hancock, U.S. NavyThe Navy's Not Serious About Riverine Warfare
Third PrizeCaptain Charity Winters, U.S. Air ForceNot Home Yet...
Third PrizeCaptain Kevin S.J. Eyer, U.S. NavyThe Bitter Cost of Business
2007 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCommander Henry J. Hendrix, II, U.S. NavyControl of the Sea Protects the New Global Heartland
First PrizeCommander David Allan Adams, USNPreemption without Regime Change
Second PrizeCommander John Patch, USNThe Navy Homeland Role: Vigilant Guard or Forward Defense?
Third PrizeLieutenant Commander John D. Dotson, USNA New Naval Strategy for a New Century
Third PrizeLieutenant Commander Thomas VanHook, MC, USNOn Demand: Sustaining the Military Health Benefit at a Reasonable Cost
2006 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeRear Admiral William J. Holland, USN (Ret.)The Fleet: Low Profile Today—Vital Tomorrow
Second PrizeNate BradenThe Storozhevoy Mutiny
Third PrizeCommander Christopher R. Davis, USNRThe Navy Needs a Strategy, and This One Fits the Bill
2005 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCommander John Patch, USNSea Basing: Sound Concept or Chimera?
Second PrizeLieutenant Commander Eric R. Johns, USN (Ret.)Boats in the Water, Boots on the Ground
Third PrizeCaptain John Byron, USN (Ret.)Three Great Apes
2004 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners
First PrizePaul H. MarxBarbarians at the Gate: Sea Power 21
Second PrizeRear Admiral William J. Holland, Jr., USN (Ret.)The Navy in the Twenty-first Century: More Than Hauling Marines
Third PrizeCaptain John Byron, USN (Ret.)U.S. Navy, Inc.
Third PrizeCaptain Randall G. Bowdish, USNBetween Scylla and Charybdis: Discussion and Dissent in the Navy
2003 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCaptain Chris Johnson, USN (Ret.)Net Centric Fogs Accountability
Second PrizeCaptain Sam Tangredi, USNRebalancing the Fleet, Round 2
Third PrizeCommander Kevin S.J. Eyer, USNHow Does It Profit a Man?
2002 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCaptain Terry C. Pierce, USNSunk Costs Sink Innovation
First Honorable MentionCaptain Sam Tangredi, USNImagined Conflicts, Ethical Differences: The Fantasy of the Growing Civil-Military Gap
Second Co-Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander Douglas L. Edson, USNNaval Warfare: A Necessary Proficiency
Second Co-Honorable MentionCaptain John Byron, USN (Ret.)A Navy Out of Balance
2001 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCommander Sheila A. Scarborough, USNNetwork-Centric Warfare Meets the Laws of the Navy
First Honorable MentionLieutenant Kenneth Ehlers Harbaugh, USNBridging the Civil-Military Divide
Second Honorable MentionCaptain Sam J. Tangredi, USNRegaining the Trust: Damage Control for the Crisis in Credibility
2000 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCaptain Sam J. Tangredi, USNThe Fall and Rise of Naval Forward Presence
First Honorable MentionCommander Charles W. Laingen, USNOn War, in the New Millennium
Second Honorable MentionLieutenant Thomas R. Williams II, USNIt's More Than a Trade

 
 

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