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?


First Prize: $5,000
Second Prize: $2,500
Third Prize: $1,500

Note: All prizes include one-year membership in the U.S. Naval Institute

Deadline: 30 October 2014

Word Length: 3,000 words

Note: Does not include footnotes

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.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Email essay by 30 October 2014 to: essays@usni.org
  • Include Leadership Essay Contest Submission on subject line of email
  • Include word count on title page of essay but do not include your name on title page or within essay
  • Provide separate attachment to include biography and complete contact information -- i.e., work, home, and cell phone numbers; and home mailing address

Selection Process: The Proceedings staff members will evaluate every essay and screen the top essays to a special Essay Selection Committee of at least six members who will include two members of the Naval Institute's Editorial Board and four subject experts.  All essays will be judged in the blind -- i.e., the Proceedings staff members and judges will not know the authors of the essays.

Announcement of the Winners: Winners will be selected before November 1 and announced online.  The winning essay will be published in the December Proceedings.

Award Ceremony: The winners will be recognized at the Naval Institute's Defense Forum Washington in D.C. on 4 December 2014.

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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