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 home page for announcements concerning upcoming essay contests.

Essay Contests - 2000 to Present

2014 Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest
SWOEnsign Garland Christopher III, U.S. NavyThe Timeless Naval Officer
SubmarineEnsign Alexander Yachanin, U.S. NavySemper Deep!
MarinesSecond Lieutenant Jean-Luc Currie, U.S. Marine CorpsLessons for Lieutenants
AviationEnsign Andy Felix, U.S. NavyIs the Sun Setting on the Greyhound?
2014 Naval Mine Warfare Essay Contest sponsored by the Mine Warfare Association
First PrizeDr. Joshua A. Edwards and Captain Dennis M. Gallagher, USNRMine and Undersea Warfare for the Future
2014 Information Dominance Essay Contest Sponsored by HP
1st PrizeLieutenant Peyton Price, U.S. NavyNaval Constraints in a Joint Environment
2nd PrizeCaptain Douglas A. Powers, U.S. NavyProtect Our Cyberspace
3rd PrizeLieutenant Nathan M. Rolfe, U.S. Navy ReserveThe Joint Information Environment Exploits Cyberspace
2014 Naval History Essay Contest Sponsored by The William M. Wood Foundation
First PrizeCaptain Richard M. Miller, U.S. NavyA Perfect American Victory
2015 International Navies Essay Contest
2013 Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest
AviationEnsign Anthony C. Robinson, USNSolving the Navy’s Tactical Aircraft Crisis
SubmarineEnsign William Harris, USNThe Silent Service’s Success in the Pacific
Surface WarfareSecond Lieutenant Katie Whitcombe, USMCA Cultural Rebalancing
USMCEnsign Robert Van Winter, USNThe Tuned-In Leader
2013 Global Defense Burden Essay Contest sponsored by Finmeccanica North America
First PrizeLieutenant Ryan Hilger, USNModernize NATO for the 21st Century
2013 Naval Mine Warfare Essay Contest sponsored by the Mine Warfare Association
First PrizeCommander Thomas S. Reynolds, USN (Ret.)Learning from IEDs
2013 Leadership Essay Contest
First PrizeLieutenant Erik Sand, U.S. NavyTriggering Innovation and Initiative
Second PrizeCaptain Justin P. Gray, U.S. Marine CorpsThe Pillar of Leadership
Third PrizeLieutenant Kurt Albaugh, U.S. NavyEmpathy: Long-Haul Sustainer
Honorable Mention VariousHonorable Mentions
2013 General Prize Essay Contest
First PrizeCaptain Jim Howe, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired), and Lieutenant Jim Dolbow, U.S. Coast Guard ReserveReinvent the Fifth Armed Service, Quickly
Second PrizeCommander Dale C. Rielage, U.S. NavyParsing the Chinese Challenge
Third PrizeRear Admiral Robert O. Wray Jr., U.S. NavyThe Utility of a Three-Tiered Navy
2013 Unmanned Maritime Systems Essay Contest & Forum
First PrizeCommander Michael J. Dobbs, U.S. Navy (Retired)Unman Your Battle Stations!
First PrizeLieutenant Ryan Hilger, U.S. NavyA Few Disruptive Thoughts
Third PrizeEnsigns Shane Halton and Chris O’Keefe, U.S. NavyThe Future of Unmanned Operations is Unmanned Analysis
2012 Naval History Magazine Author of the Year
Authors of the YearJonathan Parshall and J. Michael WengerPearl Harbor's Overlooked Answer
2012 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCaptain Gerard D. Roncolato, USN (Ret)America Must Be Careful Where it Pivots
Second PrizeCommander Brian McGuirk, USNRekindling the Killer Extinct
Third PrizeLieutenant (jg) Mathew Hipple, USNCloud Combat: Thinking Machines in Future Wars
2012 Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest
USMCSecond Lieutenant David Tan, USMCAdaptive Thinkers & Warriors
USMCSecond Lieutenant Andrew S. King, USMCConstant Convictions
Surface WarfareEnsign Franklyn Lee Dahlberg III, USNThe Changing Face of Command
Surface WarfareEnsign Claire Wasko, USNStill Relevant
2011 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeDr. Milan VegoTechnological Superiority Is Not a Panacea
First PrizeDr. Milan VegoChina's Naval Challenge
First PrizeDr. Milan VegoAirSea Battle Must Not Work Alone
Second PrizeLieutenant Commander Matthew Harper, U.S. NavyChinese Missiles and the Walmart Factor
Third PrizeCaptain Kevin Eyer, U.S. Navy (Retired)How Are the Mighty Fallen
Third PrizeCommander In H. Ha, U.S. NavyAway All . . . Hovercraft!
2011 Naval History Magazine Author of the Year
Author of the YearNorman C. Delaney'I Didn't Feel Excited a Mite'
Author of the YearNorman C. DelaneyThe Alabama's "Bold and Determined Man"
2010 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCaptain Victor G. Addison Jr., USNYou Can't Always Give What You Want
First PrizeCaptain Victor G. Addison Jr., USNGot Sea Control?
First PrizeCaptain Victor G. Addison Jr., USNThe Answer Is the Carrier Strike Group...Now, What Was the Question?
First PrizeCaptain Victor G. Addison Jr., USNThe Joint Force's "Wildcat Offense"
Second PrizeDr. Joe DiRenzo III and Vice Admiral James D. Hull, USCG (Retired)Braced for the Next Response
Third PrizeCaptain Brian J. Donlon, USMCWhere’s the Special Trust and Confidence?
Third PrizeKirk RossWhat Really Happened at Wanat
2009 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeKirk RossWhere Marines Could Be Marines
Second PrizeCommander Henry J. Hendrix, USNBuy Fords, Not Ferraris
Third PrizeBarrett TillmanFear and Loathing in the Post-Naval Era
Third PrizeAndrew Erickson and David YangOn the Verge of a Game-Changer
2008 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeColonel Mark Cancian, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)Capitalizing on al Qaeda's Mistakes
Second PrizeLieutenant Daniel A. Hancock, U.S. NavyThe Navy's Not Serious About Riverine Warfare
Third PrizeCaptain Charity Winters, USAFNot Home Yet...
Third PrizeCaptain Kevin S.J. Eyer, USNThe Bitter Cost of Business
2007 Arleigh Burke Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCommander David Allan Adams, USNPreemption without Regime Change
Second PrizeCommander John Patch, USNThe Navy Homeland Role: Vigilant Guard or Forward Defense?
Third PrizeLieutenant Commander John D. Dotson, USNA New Naval Strategy for a New Century
Third PrizeLieutenant Commander Thomas VanHook, MC, USNOn Demand: Sustaining the Military Health Benefit at a Reasonable Cost
2007 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First PrizeCommander Henry J. Hendrix, IIControl of the Sea Protects the New Global Heartland
2006 General Prize (Arleigh Burke Essay) Contest Winners
First PrizeRear Admiral William J. Holland, USN (Ret.)The Fleet: Low Profile Today—Vital Tomorrow
Second PrizeNate BradenThe Storozhevoy Mutiny
Third PrizeCommander Christopher R. Davis, USNRThe Navy Needs a Strategy, and This One Fits the Bill
2005 General Prize (Arleigh Burke Essay) Contest Winners
First PrizeCommander John Patch, USNSea Basing: Sound Concept or Chimera?
Second PrizeLieutenant Commander Eric R. Johns, USN (Ret.)Boats in the Water, Boots on the Ground
Third PrizeCaptain John Byron, USN (Ret.)Three Great Apes
2004 General Prize (Arleigh Burke Essay) Contest Winners
First PrizePaul H. MarxBarbarians at the Gate: Sea Power 21
Second PrizeRear Admiral William J. Holland, Jr., USN (Ret.)The Navy in the Twenty-first Century: More Than Hauling Marines
Third PrizeCaptain John Byron, USN (Ret.)U.S. Navy, Inc.
Third PrizeCaptain Randall G. Bowdish, USNBetween Scylla and Charybdis: Discussion and Dissent in the Navy
2003 General Prize (Arleigh Burke Essay) Contest Winners
First PrizeCaptain Chris Johnson, USN (Ret.)Net Centric Fogs Accountability
Second PrizeCaptain Sam Tangredi, USNRebalancing the Fleet, Round 2
Third PrizeCommander Kevin S.J. Eyer, USNHow Does It Profit a Man?
2002 General Prize (Arleigh Burke Essay) Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCaptain Terry C. Pierce, USNSunk Costs Sink Innovation
First Honorable MentionCaptain Sam Tangredi, USNImagined Conflicts, Ethical Differences: The Fantasy of the Growing Civil-Military Gap
Second Co-Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander Douglas L. Edson, USNNaval Warfare: A Necessary Proficiency
Second Co-Honorable MentionCaptain John Byron, USN (Ret.)A Navy Out of Balance
2001 General Prize (Arleigh Burke Essay) Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCommander Sheila A. Scarborough, USNNetwork-Centric Warfare Meets the Laws of the Navy
First Honorable MentionLieutenant Kenneth Ehlers Harbaugh, USNBridging the Civil-Military Divide
Second Honorable MentionCaptain Sam J. Tangredi, USNRegaining the Trust: Damage Control for the Crisis in Credibility
2000 General Prize (Arleigh Burke Essay) Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCaptain Sam J. Tangredi, USNThe Fall and Rise of Naval Forward Presence
First Honorable MentionCommander Charles W. Laingen, USNOn War, in the New Millennium
Second Honorable MentionLieutenant Thomas R. Williams II, USNIt's More Than a Trade


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