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.
|1979 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||R.J. Hanks||U.S. National Strategy: Outward Bound...With Inadequate Charts|
|First Honorable Mention||J.L. George||SALT and the Navy|
|Second Honorable Mention||R.T. Burns||The U.S. Naval Services and the Soviet-Cuban Enterprises|
|1978 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|First Honorable Mention||K.R. McGruther||Naval Policy at the Crossroads: The Dilemma of the U.S. Pacific Fleet|
|Second Honorable Mention||Andrew W. Hull||Potential Soviet Responses to the U.S. Submarine Threat in 1980s|
|1977 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||J.L. McClane||The Specialized Character of NATO|
|First Honorable Mention||E.F. Black||National Security Policy for the 1980s: A Proposal for Greater Public Participation|
|Second Honorable Mention||Charles L. Parnell||Should Unionization of U.S. Military Forces Be Permitted?|
|1976 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Robert H. Smith||Tactical Development in the Fleet|
|First Honorable Mention||John E. Greenbacker||Where Do We Go From Here?|
|1975 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Commander Hans Garde, Royal Danish Navy||Where Is the Western Navy - The World Wonders|
|First Honorable Mention||Captain R.D. Colvin, USN||National Security - Can We Sell the Program?|
|Second Honorable Mention||Norman L. Stone||The Trend in Naval Power - A Crisis of Resolve|
|1974 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Roy L. Beavers||Counterforce and Countervalue|
|First Honorable Mention||P.A. Dur||Future of the United States 6th Fleet|
|Second Co-Honorable Mention||S.A. Swarztrauber||An Appeal to Countrymen|
|Second Co-Honorable Mention||Hugh C. Ware||Left-Handed Monkey Wrenches and Philadelphia Screwdrivers|
|1973 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Robert Leider||Defense Planning for a Difficult Future|
|First Honorable Mention||J.E. Greenbacker||The Lesson of Vietnam|
|Second Honorable Mention||Craig Hosmer||The New Geopolitics|
|1972 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Raymond J. Barrett||The Balance of Power - Again|
|First Honorable Mention||Paul R. Schratz||The Nuclear Carrier and Modern War|
|Second Co-Honorable Mention||John C. Seymour||Some Civilian Thoughts on the Navy|
|Second Co-Honorable Mention||Roy Beavers||End of an Era|
|1971 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Robert H. Smith||A United States Navy for the Future|
|First Honorable Mention||Carl H. Builder and James A. Winnefeld||...A Matter of Time...|
|Second Honorable Mention||George E. Lowe||The Only Option?|
|1970 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Robert J. Hanks||Against All Enemies|
|First Honorable Mention||Ralph E. Williams, Jr.||After Vietnam|
|Second Honorable Mention||Paul R. Schratz||Red Star over the Southern Sea|