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 - 1920 to 1929

1929 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant F.G. Percival, USNThe Speed of Battleships
Honorable MentionCaptain Dudley W. Knox, USNThe Navy and Public Indoctrination
1928 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander Albert H. Rooks, USNOn the Prevention of War
1927 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Commander Thomas L. Gatch, USNOur Weakest Link
Honorable MentionLieutenant F.G. Percival, USNCruiser Types
1926 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerHector C. BywaterThe Battleship and Its Uses
First Honorable MentionCaptain W.S. Anderson, USNLimitation of Naval Armament
Second Honorable MentionRear Admiral W.V. Pratt, USNSome Aspects of Our Air Policy
1925 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant R.E. Krause, USNThe Trend of Naval Affairs
First Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander O.C. Badger, USNHistory Repeats
Second Honorable MentionCommander H.H. Frost, USNNational Strategy
1924 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Honorable MentionCommander Russell Willson, USNOur Tactical Readiness for War
1923 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRear Admiral W.V. Pratt, USNSome Considerations Affecting Naval Policy
Honorable MentionCommander F.M. Perkins, USNIs the Fleet Strategically Concentrated?
1921 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCaptain J.V. Chase, USNAccuracy of Fire at Long Ranges
Honorable MentionCommander H.H. Frost, USNA Description of the Battle of Jutland
Honorable MentionCommander G.C. Westervelt, (CC), USN and H.B. SanfordPossibilities of a Trans-Pacific Flight
Honorable MentionCommander J.K. Taussig, USNA Study of Our Naval Personnel Situation
Honorable MentionCaptain T.T. Craven, USNNaval Aviation and a United Air Service
Honorable MentionCaptain R.D. White, USNLeadership
1920 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCommander E.F. Eggert, (CC), USNThe Battleship
First Honorable MentionCaptain E.J. King, USNSome Ideas About the Effect of Increasing the Size of Battleships
Second Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander K.C. McIntosh, USN, (SC), USNU.S.C.N.

 
 

Conferences and Events

Defense Forum Washington 2014

Thu, 2014-12-04

Newseum - Knight Conference Center

Defense Forum Washington will take place December 4, 2014 at the Newseum - Knight Conference Center in Washington, DC.

2015 WEST Conference

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