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 - 1970 to 1979

1979 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerR.J. HanksU.S. National Strategy: Outward Bound...With Inadequate Charts
First Honorable MentionJ.L. GeorgeSALT and the Navy
Second Honorable MentionR.T. BurnsThe U.S. Naval Services and the Soviet-Cuban Enterprises
1978 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
First Honorable MentionK.R. McGrutherNaval Policy at the Crossroads: The Dilemma of the U.S. Pacific Fleet
Second Honorable MentionAndrew W. HullPotential Soviet Responses to the U.S. Submarine Threat in 1980s
1977 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerJ.L. McClaneThe Specialized Character of NATO
First Honorable MentionE.F. BlackNational Security Policy for the 1980s: A Proposal for Greater Public Participation
Second Honorable MentionCharles L. ParnellShould Unionization of U.S. Military Forces Be Permitted?
1976 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRobert H. SmithTactical Development in the Fleet
First Honorable MentionJohn E. GreenbackerWhere Do We Go From Here?
1975 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerCommander Hans Garde, Royal Danish NavyWhere Is the Western Navy - The World Wonders
First Honorable MentionCaptain R.D. Colvin, USNNational Security - Can We Sell the Program?
Second Honorable MentionNorman L. StoneThe Trend in Naval Power - A Crisis of Resolve
1974 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRoy L. BeaversCounterforce and Countervalue
First Honorable MentionP.A. DurFuture of the United States 6th Fleet
Second Co-Honorable MentionS.A. SwarztrauberAn Appeal to Countrymen
Second Co-Honorable MentionHugh C. WareLeft-Handed Monkey Wrenches and Philadelphia Screwdrivers
1973 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRobert LeiderA Different World
First Honorable MentionJ.E. GreenbackerThe Lesson of Vietnam
Second Honorable MentionCraig HosmerThe New Geopolitics
1972 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRaymond J. BarrettThe Balance of Powers
First Honorable MentionPaul R. SchratzThe Nuclear Carrier and Modern War
Second Co-Honorable MentionJohn C. SeymourSome Civilian Thoughts on the Navy
Second Co-Honorable MentionRoy BeaversEnd of an Era
1971 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRobert H. SmithA United States Navy for the Future
First Honorable MentionCarl H. Builder and James A. WinnefeldASW - Now or Never
Second Honorable MentionGeorge E. LoweThe Only Option?
1970 General Prize Essay Contest Winners
Prize WinnerRobert J. HanksAgainst All Enemies
First Honorable MentionRalph E. Williams, Jr.After Vietnam
Second Honorable MentionPaul R. SchratzRed Star over the Southern Sea


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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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