Enter the Naval Institute’s General Prize Essay Contest
The Challenge: The U.S. Naval Institute’s mission is 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 General Prize Essay Contest is an enduring endorsement of that principle and invites your participation in this open annual essay contest to discuss the most compelling and forward-thinking ideas. There is no restriction on theme. All essays are judged in the blind by the Naval Institute’s Editorial Board composed of serving Sea Service Professionals.
Past Winners: Since 1879, the Naval Institute’s flagship essay contest has been the General Prize. Past winners include: CDR Alfred Thayer Mahan (1879); ENS W.I. Chambers (1884); LT E. L. Beach (1903); RADM Stephen B. Luce (1905); LT Ernest J. King (1909); LCDR J. K. Taussig (1916); LTJG Ernest Eller (1930); LCDR (later Senator) Sam Stratton (1952/1954); CAPT Wayne Hughes (1981); LCDR James Stavridis (1984); CAPT Linton Brooks (1987); Ron O’Rourke (1988); LT Niel Golightly (1990); LT Christopher Abel, USCG; Capt Jon Hoffman, USMC (1991); CDR James Winnefeld Jr. (1994); LT David Adams (1997); LT Thomas R. Williams (2000).
2014 Winners: LCDR Wolf Melbourne, USN; LT Ryan P. Hilger, USN; LT Roger L. Misso, USN All were published in the April 2015 issue of Proceedings.
First Prize $6,000
Second Prize $3,000
Third Prize $2,000
Note: All prizes include one-year membership in the U.S. Naval Institute
Deadline: 31 December 2015
Word Length: 3,500 words
Note: Does not include footnotes.
Eligibility: The contest is open to all persons eligible for membership (including those already members) in the Institute.
- Email essays by 31 December 2015 to: firstname.lastname@example.org 
- Include General Prize 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 the 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 the Editorial Board for judging. 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: The winning essays will be announced and published in the April 2016 issue of Proceedings.
Award Ceremony: Prize winners are honored as part of a recognition ceremony during the Naval Institute's Annual Meeting, or at some other event to be determined by the Institute.
About Naval Institute Essay Contests
Essay contests have been central to the work of the Naval Institute for well over one hundred 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.