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 - 1960 to 1969

1969 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First Honorable MentionStanley L. HarrisonThe Elusive Goal of Nonproliferation
Second Honorable MentionRobert J. HanksThe Paper Torpedo
Third Honorable MentionC.L. ParnellVictory in Limited War
1968 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerPaul R. SchratzThe Caesars, the Sieges, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile
First Honorable MentionRobert J. HanksThe High Price of Success
Second Honorable MentionSamuel P. IngramCivilian Command or Civilian Control
Third Honorable MentionGeorge E. LoweThe Case for the Oceanic Strategy
1967 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerHarold W. RoodDistant Rampart
First Honorable MentionJohn D. ChaseSouth of Thirty
Second Honorable MentionGordon S. HodgsonOf Hawks and Doves
1966 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRobert H. Smith, Jr.The Submarine's Long Shadow
First Honorable MentionRichard StillmanThe Pentagon's Whiz Kids: A Military Appraisal
Second Honorable MentionWilliam R. Van CleaveThe Nuclear Weapons Debate
1965 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerJohn D. HayesSine Qua Non of U.S. Sea Power: The Merchant Ship
First Honorable MentionGordon S. HodgsonSea Based Air Striking Power
Second Honorable MentionCarl H. Amme, Jr.Nuclear Control and the Multilateral Force
1964 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCarl H. Amme, Jr.Crisis of Confidence
First Honorable MentionJohn D. AldenUnfaced Challenge - Submarine vs Free World
Second Honorable MentionCarl M. GuezloChore or Challenge: An Ethic for the Nuclear Age
1963 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCarl H. Amme, Jr.The Changing Nature of Power
First Honorable MentionStephen De La MaterThe Navy Image
Second Honorable MentionHarvey O. WebsterThe Message Gap
1962 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCarl H. Amme, Jr.Naval Strategy and the New Frontier
Honorable MentionGeorge E. LoweBalanced Forces or Counterforce - Does It Make a Difference
Honorable MentionCharles O. LercheContrasting Strategic Styles in the Cold War
1961 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerHarvey B. SeimAre We Ready to Wage Limited War?
Honorable MentionWilliam H. HesslerThe Care and Feeding of an Oceanic Alliance
1960 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCarl H. Amme, Jr.Psychological Effects of Nuclear Weapons
Honorable MentionMaurice H. HellnerSea Power and Soviet Designs for Expansion


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