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.
|1949 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Harvey B. Seim||Atomic Bomb - The X-Factor of Military Policy|
|Honorable Mention||Charles R. Brown||The Principles of War|
|1948 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Honorable Mention||Charles Moran||Security by Enactment|
|Honorable Mention||M.A. Peel, Jr.||War-Making Must Be in the Hands of Those Who Hate War|
|1947 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||William H. Hessler||Geography, Technology, and Military Policy|
|Honorable Mention||A. Talerico, Jr.||Operation Justice|
|1946 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Russell H. Smith||Notes on Our Naval Future|
|Honorable Mention||Walmer E. Strope||The Decisive Battle of the Pacific War|
|1945 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Honorable Mention||F.J. Nelson||The Obligation of Freedom|
|1944 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||William H. Hessler||A Geopolitics for America|
|Honorable Mention||Ashley Halsey, Jr.||A Slide-Rule Formula for a Post-War Navy|
|1943 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||W.D. Puleston||The Impact of Aviation on Sea Power|
|Honorable Mention||G.V. Stewart||Followship|
|1942 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||E.M. Eller||How Shall We Win?|
|1941 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Robert McClintock||The Diplomacy of a 2-Ocean War|
|Honorable Mention||David W. Kendall||American Sea Power: 1941 and Beyond|
|1940 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant F.G. Percival, USN (Ret.)||A Threat and an Opportunity|