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.
|1969 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|First Honorable Mention||Stanley L. Harrison||Misguided Mission: The Elusive Goal of Nonproliferation|
|Second Honorable Mention||Robert J. Hanks||The Paper Torpedo|
|Third Honorable Mention||C.L. Parnell||Victory in Limited War|
|1968 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Paul R. Schratz||The Caesars, the Sieges, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile|
|First Honorable Mention||Robert J. Hanks||The High Price of Success|
|Second Honorable Mention||Samuel P. Ingram||Civilian Command or Civilian Control|
|Third Honorable Mention||George E. Lowe||The Case for the Oceanic Strategy|
|1967 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Harold W. Rood||Distant Rampart|
|First Honorable Mention||John D. Chase||South of Thirty|
|Second Honorable Mention||Gordon S. Hodgson||Of Hawks and Doves|
|1966 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Robert H. Smith, Jr.||Submarine - Long Shadow Across Tomorrow|
|First Honorable Mention||Richard Stillman||The Pentagon Whiz Kids: A Military Appraisal|
|Second Honorable Mention||William R. Van Cleave||The Nuclear Weapons Debate|
|1965 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||John D. Hayes||Sine Qua Non of U.S. Sea Power: The Merchant Ship|
|First Honorable Mention||Gordon S. Hodgson||Sea Based Air Striking Power|
|Second Honorable Mention||Carl H. Amme, Jr.||Nuclear Control and the Multilateral Force|
|1964 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Carl H. Amme, Jr.||Crisis of Confidence|
|First Honorable Mention||John D. Alden||Unfaced Challenge - Submarine vs Free World|
|Second Honorable Mention||Carl M. Guezlo||Chore or Challenge: An Ethic for the Nuclear Age|
|1963 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Carl H. Amme, Jr.||The Changing Nature of Power|
|First Honorable Mention||Stephen De La Mater||The Navy Image|
|Second Honorable Mention||Harvey O. Webster||The Message Gap|
|1962 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Carl H. Amme, Jr.||Naval Strategy and the New Frontier|
|Honorable Mention||George E. Lowe||Balanced Forces or Counterforce - Does It Make a Difference|
|Honorable Mention||Charles O. Lerche||Contrasting Strategic Styles in the Cold War|
|1961 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Harvey B. Seim||Are We Ready to Wage Limited War|
|Honorable Mention||William H. Hessler||The Care and Feeding of an Oceanic Alliance|
|1960 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Carl H. Amme, Jr.||Psychological Effects of Nuclear Weapons|
|Honorable Mention||Maurice H. Hellner||Sea Power and Soviet Designs for Expansion|