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.
|1989 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Rear Admiral James A. Winnefeld, USN (Ret.)||Is the Navy Ready for Conventional Arms Control?|
|First Honorable Mention||Captain Linton F. Brooks, USN||Dropping the Baton|
|Second Honorable Mention||Commander Thomas Grassey, USNR-R||Justifying the Cost of Seapower|
|1988 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners|
|First Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Frederick A. Graf, USN||The Combat Officer and International Law|
|Second Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Scott A. Hastings, USNR||A Maritime Strategy for 2037|
|1987 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Captain Linton F. Brooks, USN||The Maritime Nuclear Strategy|
|First Honorable Mention||Captain Roger W. Barnett, USN (Ret.)||Rocks in the Scuppers: Another Round in the Maritime/Continental Debate|
|Second Co-Honorable Mention||Lieutenant P. Kevin Peppe, USN||Acoustic Parity, SSNs and the Maritime Strategy|
|1986 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Dr. James L. George||Start and the Navy|
|First Honorable Mention||Commander James John Tritten, USN||Their Ideology|
|Second Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander Christopher Staszak, USNR||Terrorism and the Surface Navy|
|1985 General Prize (Arleigh Burke) Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Captain Daniel S. Appleton, USN (Ret.)||Endgame|
|First Honorable Mention||Commander Linton Wells, II||Plus Ca Change|
|Second Honorable Mention||Captain Roger W. Barnett, USN (Ret.)||Fathoming Soviet Intentions|
|1984 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||David B. Rivkin||A Sound Naval Strategy|
|First Honorable Mention||Captain Robert C. Powers, USN||Castles, Knights and Bishops|
|Second Co-Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander James Stavridis, USN||Naval Strategy and National Ocean Policy|
|Second Co-Honorable Mention||Captain Linton F. Brooks, USN||Escalation and Naval Strategy|
|1983 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Commander T. Wood Parker, Jr., USN||Paradigms, Conventional Wisdom and Naval Warfare|
|First Honorable Mention||Captain Robert C. Powers, USN||The Return of Tactical Thought|
|Second Honorable Mention||Captain Andrew C.A. Jampoler, USN||Reviewing the Conventional Wisdom|
|1982 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Paul G. Johnson, USN||Tomahawk: The Implications of a Strategic/Tactical Mix|
|First Honorable Mention||Theodore C. Taylor||Needed: A Coherent Basis for Tactical Thought|
|Second Honorable Mention||Captain M. Eckhart, Jr., USN (Ret.)||Management of Change|
|1981 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Commander T. Wood Parker, Jr., USN||Thinking Offensively|
|First Co-Honorable Mention||Dr. James L. George||Needed: Flying Squadrons for Flexibility|
|First Co-Honorable Mention||Captain Wayne P. Hughes, Jr., USN||Missile Chess: A Parable|
|1980 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Captain Robert H. Smith, USN (Ret.)||Mine Warfare: Promise Deferred|
|First Honorable Mention||Rear Admiral Robert J. Hanks, USN (Ret.)||The Swinging Debate|
|Second Honorable Mention||Commander W.S. Hoffman, USN||The State of the Navy|