Enter the Naval Institute’s General Prize Essay Contest
The Challenge: The General Prize Essay Contest invites you to “dare to write in order to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense.” Participate in this open annual essay contest to discuss the most compelling issues, ideas, and solutions. There is no restriction on topic. 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).
2015 Winners: LCDR Jared M. Wilhelm, USN; LCDR Brendan R. Stickles, USN; FLTCM (SW/AW) Paul A. Kingsbury, USN
First Prize $6,000
Second Prize $3,000
Third Prize $2,000
Note: All prize winners receive one-year memberships in the U.S. Naval Institute.
Deadline: 31 December 2016
Word Length: 3,500 words maximum
Note: Word count does not include footnotes/endnotes/sources.
Eligibility: The contest is open to all persons eligible for membership (including those already members) in the Institute.
Prior Publication: We will assume that your essay has not been previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere, unless otherwise notified by you. All previously published essays are ineligible.
- Email essays (preferably as a Microsoft Word attachment) by 31 December 2016 to: [email protected] 
- 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 2017 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.