2014 Leadership Essay Contest Sponsored by Dr. J. Phillip London and CACI International

The Challenge

Leadership in the Sea Services: The Junior Officers' Perspective
The contest will focus on leadership and character and their roles in America's naval service, from the Revolution forward.

About the Leadership Essay Contest

Leadership is a much discussed topic, hence this contest will address it from an unusual slant, first by confining itself to the views of junior officers, second by encouraging authors to answer questions along the following lines:

  • What does leadership look like to the led? What does it look like from below? From beside?
  • What qualities and characteristics define leadership for those who are themselves young leaders who aspire to command?
  • Can leadership be defined...or only recognized?
  • Can leadership be taught...or only learned?
  • How can leadership be nurtured?
  • What does character have to do with leadership?
  • What is the role of mentors?
  • What were the great naval leaders saying about leaders and leadership when they themselves were junior officers?
  • What other lessons can be drawn from naval history?
  • Why do so many people believe their experience as a naval officer changed their lives - whether they continued to serve on active duty or not?

Contest Highlights

Call for Essays: The U.S. Naval Institute is calling for essays on the subject of leadership and character as described above under "The Challenge." Call for essays to appear in the September Proceedings, and online August 8.
Eligibility: Only junior officers, O-4 (LCDR/MAJOR) and below, from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard will be eligible to take part in the essay contest.
Deadline for Submission of Essays: October 30, 2014.
Length of Essays: Maximum 3,000 words.
Submission Process: Email essays by October 30, 2014 to essays@usni.org.
Review Process: A joint panel composed of Editorial Board members, outside subject experts, and Proceedings editorial staff members shall judge essays and choose winners.
Announcement of Winners: Winners will be selected before November 1 and announced online.
Publication of Winning Essay: December Proceedings and online December 3, 2014.


1st Prize: $5,000 and one year membership in USNI
2nd Prize: $2,500 and one year membership in USNI
3rd Prize: $1,500 and one year membership in USNI

Award Ceremony

Prize winners are honored as part of a recognition ceremony during the Naval Institute's Annual Meeting in April 2015 in Washington, D.C. We will also invite representatives of CACI and Dr. J.P. (Jack London) to be present to assist in the award presentations.

2013 Winners and Honorable Mentions

About Naval Institute Essay Contests

Essay contests have been central to the work of the Naval Institute for more than 130 years. They directly fulfill the Institute's educational mission by encouraging writing on issues of concern to the Sea Services. They provide thought-provoking articles that spur ongoing discussion of these same issues, not only in Naval Institute media, print and digital, but also in other leading defense and national security forums.


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