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.
|1929 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant F.G. Percival, USN||The Speed of Battleships|
|Honorable Mention||Captain Dudley W. Knox, USN||The Navy and Public Indoctrination|
|1928 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander Albert H. Rooks, USN||On the Prevention of War|
|1927 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant Commander Thomas L. Gatch, USN||Our Weakest Link|
|Honorable Mention||Lieutenant F.G. Percival, USN||Cruiser Types|
|1926 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Hector C. Bywater||The Battleship and Its Uses|
|First Honorable Mention||Captain W.S. Anderson, USN||Limitation of Naval Armament|
|Second Honorable Mention||Rear Admiral W.V. Pratt, USN||Some Aspects of Our Air Policy|
|1925 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Lieutenant R.E. Krause, USN||The Trend of Naval Affairs|
|First Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander O.C. Badger, USN||History Repeats|
|Second Honorable Mention||Commander H.H. Frost, USN||National Strategy|
|1924 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Honorable Mention||Commander Russell Willson, USN||Our Tactical Readiness for War|
|1923 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Rear Admiral W.V. Pratt, USN||Some Considerations Affecting Naval Policy|
|Honorable Mention||Commander F.M. Perkins, USN||Is the Fleet Strategically Concentrated?|
|1921 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Captain J.V. Chase, USN||Accuracy of Fire at Long Ranges|
|Honorable Mention||Commander H.H. Frost, USN||A Description of the Battle of Jutland|
|Honorable Mention||Commander G.C. Westervelt, (CC), USN and H.B. Sanford||Possibilities of a Trans-Pacific Flight|
|Honorable Mention||Commander J.K. Taussig, USN||A Study of Our Naval Personnel Situation|
|Honorable Mention||Captain T.T. Craven, USN||Naval Aviation and a United Air Service|
|Honorable Mention||Captain R.D. White, USN||Leadership|
|1920 General Prize Essay Contest Winners|
|Prize Winner||Commander E.F. Eggert, (CC), USN||The Battleship|
|First Honorable Mention||Captain E.J. King, USN||Some Ideas About the Effect of Increasing the Size of Battleships|
|Second Honorable Mention||Lieutenant Commander K.C. McIntosh, USN, (SC), USN||U.S.C.N.|