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.
|1909 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Ernest J. King, USN||Some Ideas About Organization on Board Ship|
|Honorable Mention||Commodore W.H. Beehler, USN||The Navy and Coast Defense|
|Honorable Mention||Pay Inspector J.A. Mudd, USN||The Reorganization of the Naval Establishment|
|Honorable Mention||Commander A.P. Niblack, USN||A Plea for Physical Training in the Navy|
|1908 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant W.S. Pye, USN||A Few Hints to the Study of Naval Tactics|
|First Honorable Mention||Pay Inspector J.A. Mudd, USN||The Money for the Navy|
|1907 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Pay Inspector J.A. Mudd, USN||Storekeeping at the Navy Yards|
|First Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander Yates Sterling, USN||Battle Rehearsals: A Few Thoughts on Our Next Step in Fleet-Gunnery|
|Second Honorable Mention||Commander Bradley A. Fiske, USN||The Naval Profession|
|1906 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Commander H.O. Rittenhouse, USN||Promotion by Selection|
|First Honorable Mention||Commander A.P. Niblack, USN||The Elements of Fleet Tactics|
|Second Honorable Mention||Captain Seaton Schroeder, USN||Gleanings from the Sea of Japan|
|Third Honorable Mention||Pay Inspector J.A. Mudd, USN||The Purchase System of the Navy|
|1905 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Commander Bradley A. Fiske, USN||American Naval Policy|
|Honorable Mention||Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, USN||The Department of the Navy|
|1904 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant S.P. Fullinwider, Sr., USN||The Fleet and Its Personnel|
|Honorable Mention||Medical Inspector Howard E. Ames, USN||A Plea for a Higher Physical, Moral and Intellectual Standard of the Personnel for the Navy|
|1903 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Professor Philip R. Alger, USN||Gunnery in Our Navy: The Causes of Its Inferiority and Their Remedies|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant James H. Reid, USN||A Naval Training Policy and System|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant C.L. Hussy, USN||Systematic Training of the Enlisted Personnel of the Navy|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant E.L. Beach, USN||Our Torpedo-Boat Flotilla: The Training Needed to Insure Its Efficiency|
|1901 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant John Hood, USN||Naval Administration and Organization|
|1900 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant R.H. Jackson, USN||Torpedo Craft: Types and Employment|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant L.H. Chandler, USN||The Automobile Torpedo and Its Uses|