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.
|1939 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Rear Admiral J.K. Taussig, USN||An Organization for the United States Fleet|
|Honorable Mention||Robert Mills McClintock||American Foreign Policy and Naval Power|
|1938 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Commander Melvin F. Talbot, (SC), USN||The Battleship: Her Evolution and Her Present Place in the Scheme of Naval War|
|1937 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant H.H. Smith-Hutton, USN||Naval Limitations|
|Honorable Mention||Captain Dudley W. Knox, USN (Ret.)||Naval Power as a Preserver of Neutrality and Peace|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant E.M. Eller, USN||The Sea and National Destiny|
|1936 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Commander Frank S.M. Harris, USNR||The Navy and the Diplomatic Frontier|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander Ronald T. Strong, USNR||Pressures Against Peace|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Ernest M. Eller, USN||Sea Power in the American Revolution|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Ernest M. Eller, USN||Courage Is Not Enough|
|1935 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Commander Melvin F. Talbot, (SC), USN||Beyond the Treaties|
|1934 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Wilfred J. Holmes, USN||The Foundation of Naval Policy|
|Honorable Mention||Rear Admiral Yates Sterling, USN||Naval Preparedness in the Pacific Area|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander Melvin F. Talbot, (SC), USN||After 1936 - The Problem of the Naval Treaties|
|1933 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Rear Admiral William V. Pratt, USN||Lest They Forget|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant (jg) Frederick J. Bell, USN||The Swing of the Pendulum|
|1932 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant (jg) Ernest M. Eller, USN||Time Is Life|
|Honorable Mention||Commander Ralph C. Parker, USN||An Analysis of the Air Menace|
|1931 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant F.G. Percival, USN||Elements Contributing to Aerial Superiority|
|Honorable Mention||H.G. Brownson||Naval Policy in Peace and War|
|1930 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Leland P. Lovette, USN||Naval Policy at the Crossroads|
|First Honorable Mention||Lieutenant (jg) Ernest M. Eller, USN||Will to Win|
|Second Honorable Mention||H.G. Brownson||Sea Power and World Unity|