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 home page for announcements concerning upcoming essay contests.

Essay Contests - 1890 to 1899

1898 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCaptain C.F. Goodrich, USNEsprit de Corps: A Tract for the Times
Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander R. Wainwright, USNOur Naval Power
Honorable MentionEnsign R.H. Jackson, USNTarget Practice and the Training of Gun Captains
1897 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant R.C. Smith, Sr., USNTorpedo-Boat Policy
Honorable MentionH.G. DohrmanA Proposed Uniform Course of Instruction for the Naval Militia
Honorable MentionLieutenant J.M. Ellicott, USNTorpedoes in Exercise and Battle
1896 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant A.P. Niblack, USNThe Tactics of Ships in the Line of Battle
Honorable MentionLieutenant William F. Fullam, USNThe Organization, Training and Discipline of the Navy Personnel as Viewed from the Ship
Honorable MentionEnsign Ryland D. Tisdale, USNNaval Apprentices, Inducements, Enlisting and Training: The Seaman Branch of the Navy
Honorable MentionLieutenant John M. Ellicott, USNThe Composition of the Fleet
1895 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Commander R. Wainwright, USNTactical Problems in Naval Warfare
Honorable MentionAssistant Naval Constructor Richmond P. Hobson, USNA Summary of the Situation and Outlook in Europe: An Introduction to the Study of Coming War
Honorable MentionNaval Constructor William J. Baxter, USNSuggestions for Increasing the Efficiency of Our New Ships
Honorable MentionEnsign Frank Marble, USNThe Battle of the Yalu
1894 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Commander Seaton Schroeder, USNThe U.S.S. Vesuvius, with Special Reference to Her Pneumatic Battery
Honorable MentionPassed Assistant Engineer F.M. Bennett, USNNaval Reform
1892 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerWilliam Laird ClowesTorpedo-Boats: Their Organization and Conduct
1891 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerEnsign A.P. Niblack, USNThe Enlistment, Training and Organization of Crews for Our Ships of War
Honorable MentionLieutenant R.C. Smith, USNDisposition and Employment of the Fleet: Ship and Squadron Drill


Conferences and Events

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From the Press

23 February - Seminar

Sat, 2019-02-23

David F. Winkler

3 March - Lecture

Sun, 2019-03-03

Stephen A. Bourque

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