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 - 1930 to 1939

1939 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRear Admiral J.K. Taussig, USNAn Organization for the United States Fleet
Honorable MentionRobert Mills McClintockAmerican Foreign Policy and Naval Power
1938 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Commander Melvin F. Talbot, (SC), USNThe Battleship: Her Evolution and Her Present Place in the Scheme of Naval War
1937 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant H.H. Smith-Hutton, USNNaval Limitations
Honorable MentionCaptain Dudley W. Knox, USN (Ret.)Naval Power as a Preserver of Neutrality and Peace
Honorable MentionLieutenant E.M. Eller, USNThe Sea and National Destiny
1936 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Commander Frank S.M. Harris, USNRThe Navy and the Diplomatic Frontier
Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander Ronald T. Strong, USNRPressures Against Peace
Honorable MentionLieutenant Ernest M. Eller, USNSea Power in the American Revolution
Honorable MentionLieutenant Ernest M. Eller, USNCourage Is Not Enough
1935 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Commander Melvin F. Talbot, (SC), USNBeyond the Treaties
1934 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Wilfred J. Holmes, USNThe Foundation of Naval Policy
Honorable MentionRear Admiral Yates Sterling, USNNaval Preparedness in the Pacific Area
Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander Melvin F. Talbot, (SC), USNAfter 1936 - The Problem of the Naval Treaties
1933 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRear Admiral William V. Pratt, USNLest They Forget
Honorable MentionLieutenant (jg) Frederick J. Bell, USNThe Swing of the Pendulum
1932 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant (jg) Ernest M. Eller, USNTime Is Life
Honorable MentionCommander Ralph C. Parker, USNAn Analysis of the Air Menace
1931 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant F.G. Percival, USNElements Contributing to Aerial Superiority
Honorable MentionH.G. BrownsonNaval Policy in Peace and War
1930 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Leland P. Lovette, USNNaval Policy at the Crossroads
First Honorable MentionLieutenant (jg) Ernest M. Eller, USNWill to Win
Second Honorable MentionH.G. BrownsonSea Power and World Unity

 
 

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