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.
|1898 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Captain C.F. Goodrich, USN||Esprit de Corps: A Tract for the Times|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander R. Wainwright, USN||Our Naval Power|
|Honorable Mention||Ensign R.H. Jackson, USN||Target Practice and the Training of Gun Captains|
|1897 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant R.C. Smith, Sr., USN||Torpedo-Boat Policy|
|Honorable Mention||H.G. Dohrman||A Proposed Uniform Course of Instruction for the Naval Militia|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant J.M. Ellicott, USN||Torpedoes in Exercise and Battle|
|1896 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant A.P. Niblack, USN||The Tactics of Ships in the Line of Battle|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant William F. Fullam, USN||The Organization, Training and Discipline of the Navy Personnel as Viewed from the Ship|
|Honorable Mention||Ensign Ryland D. Tisdale, USN||Naval Apprentices, Inducements, Enlisting and Training: The Seaman Branch of the Navy|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant John M. Ellicott, USN||The Composition of the Fleet|
|1895 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Commander R. Wainwright, USN||Tactical Problems in Naval Warfare|
|Honorable Mention||Assistant Naval Constructor Richmond P. Hobson, USN||A Summary of the Situation and Outlook in Europe: An Introduction to the Study of Coming War|
|Honorable Mention||Naval Constructor William J. Baxter, USN||Suggestions for Increasing the Efficiency of Our New Ships|
|Honorable Mention||Ensign Frank Marble, USN||The Battle of the Yalu|
|1894 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Commander Seaton Schroeder, USN||The U.S.S. Vesuvius, with Special Reference to Her Pneumatic Battery|
|Honorable Mention||Passed Assistant Engineer F.M. Bennett, USN||Naval Reform|
|1892 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||William Laird Clowes||Torpedo-Boats: Their Organization and Conduct|
|1891 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Ensign A.P. Niblack, USN||The Enlistment, Training and Organization of Crews for Our Ships of War|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant R.C. Smith, USN||Disposition and Employment of the Fleet: Ship and Squadron Drill|