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.
|1959 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||P.H. Backus||Finite Deterrence, Controlled Retaliation|
|Honorable Mention||George H. Miller||Not for the Timid|
|Honorable Mention||Roy L. Beavers, Jr.||Seapower and Geopolitics in the Missile Age|
|1958 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Ralph E. Williams||Task for Today: Security through Seapower|
|Honorable Mention||William H. Hessler||War: Always an Art|
|1957 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Malcolm W. Cagle||A Philosophy of Naval Atomic Warfare|
|1956 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||William R. Kintner||American Responsibilities in the Nuclear Age|
|Honorable Mention||Maurice H. Hellner||Sea Power and the Struggle for Asia|
|1955 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Honorable Mention||D.M.B. Williams||Patriotism Through Knowledge|
|1954 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Ralph E. Williams||The Great Debate: 1954|
|Honorable Mention||Samuel S. Stratton||Balance Sheet on Korea|
|1953 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Ralph E. Williams||Sea Power and the Western Revolution|
|Honorable Mention||Joseph C. Wylie||On Maritime Strategy|
|Honorable Mention||W.C. Hogan||These Issues We Must Teach|
|1952 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Samuel S. Stratton||Korea: Acid Test of Containment|
|Honorable Mention||J.C. Wylie||Reflections on the War in the Pacific|
|1951 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Ralph E. Williams, Jr.||National Security and Military Policy|
|1950 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Ernest M. Eller||Will We Need a Navy to Win?|
|Honorable Mention||William D. Puleston||Dimensions and Characteristics of a Future War|
|Honorable Mention||George H. Miller||Strategy of the Future: A Second Look|
|Honorable Mention||Charles R. Brown||American National Strategy|