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 - 1900 to 1909

1909 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant Ernest J. King, USNSome Ideas About Organization on Board Ship
Honorable MentionCommodore W.H. Beehler, USNThe Navy and Coast Defense
Honorable MentionPay Inspector J.A. Mudd, USNThe Reorganization of the Naval Establishment
Honorable MentionCommander A.P. Niblack, USNA Plea for Physical Training in the Navy
1908 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant W.S. Pye, USNA Few Hints to the Study of Naval Tactics
First Honorable MentionPay Inspector J.A. Mudd, USNThe Money for the Navy
1907 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerPay Inspector J.A. Mudd, USNStorekeeping at the Navy Yards
First Honorable MentionLieutenant Commander Yates Sterling, USNBattle Rehearsals: A Few Thoughts on Our Next Step in Fleet-Gunnery
Second Honorable MentionCommander Bradley A. Fiske, USNThe Naval Profession
1906 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCommander H.O. Rittenhouse, USNPromotion by Selection
First Honorable MentionCommander A.P. Niblack, USNThe Elements of Fleet Tactics
Second Honorable MentionCaptain Seaton Schroeder, USNGleanings from the Sea of Japan
Third Honorable MentionPay Inspector J.A. Mudd, USNThe Purchase System of the Navy
1905 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCommander Bradley A. Fiske, USNAmerican Naval Policy
Honorable MentionRear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, USNThe Department of the Navy
1904 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant S.P. Fullinwider, Sr., USNThe Fleet and Its Personnel
Honorable MentionMedical Inspector Howard E. Ames, USNA Plea for a Higher Physical, Moral and Intellectual Standard of the Personnel for the Navy
1903 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerProfessor Philip R. Alger, USNGunnery in Our Navy: The Causes of Its Inferiority and Their Remedies
Honorable MentionLieutenant James H. Reid, USNA Naval Training Policy and System
Honorable MentionLieutenant C.L. Hussy, USNSystematic Training of the Enlisted Personnel of the Navy
Honorable MentionLieutenant E.L. Beach, USNOur Torpedo-Boat Flotilla: The Training Needed to Insure Its Efficiency
1901 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant John Hood, USNNaval Administration and Organization
1900 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerLieutenant R.H. Jackson, USNTorpedo Craft: Types and Employment
Honorable MentionLieutenant L.H. Chandler, USNThe Automobile Torpedo and Its Uses


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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