Coast Guard Essay Contest

Sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute

Today, the U.S. Coast Guard is faced with the need to provide capable, dedicated services for the safety of those transiting Arctic waters, the maritime protection of that region, and the enforcement of U.S. sovereignty there.  Concurrently, their traditional missions are becoming more difficult to accomplish because of the increased demand on the operators and decreased numbers of operational platforms. 

In the counter drug arena for example, nowhere is trafficking more prevalent than in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea, yet harder to prosecute.  According to Coast Guard senior leaders in 2015, although the intelligence network is aware of approximately 85% of all trafficking missions in these waters, because of insufficient numbers of available assets, the Coast Guard is only able to prosecute about 20% of these cases.  Lower numbers of available Coast Guard assets and Navy ships that once carried Coast Guard law enforcement detachments are contributing to widening the gap between known missions and interdictions.  The Coast Guard is stretched thin.

The Challenge:

Advance new thinking about the U.S. Coast Guard's critical role in the 21st century.  No issue is too big or too narrow as long as it makes the Coast Guard stronger.  This does not mean authors cannot be critical and take on conventional wisdom and current practices.  In fact, we encourage you to push the "dare factor."

Prior Publication: We will assume that your essay has not been previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere, unless otherwise notified by you.  All previously published essays are ineligible.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Email essay as a Microsoft Word attachment by 30 June 2018 to: [email protected]
  • Include Coast Guard Essay Contest Submission on subject line of email
  • Include word count on title page of essay but do not include your name on title page or within the essay
  • Provide separate attachment to include biography and compete contact information -- i.e., work, home, and cell phone numbers; and home mailing address

Selection Process: The Proceedings staff members will evaluate every essay and screen the top essays to a special Essay Selection Committee of at least six members who will include two member's of the Naval Institute's Editorial Board and four subject experts.  All essays will be judged in the blind -- i.e., the Proceedings staff members and judges will not know the authors of the essays.

Announcement of the Winners: The winning essays will be announced in July and published in a future issue of Proceedings.

About Naval Institute Essay Contests

Essay contests have been central to the work of the Naval Institute for more than 130 years. They directly fulfill the Institute's educational mission by encouraging writing on issues of concern to the Sea Services. They provide thought-provoking articles that spur ongoing discussion of these same issues, not only in Naval Institute media, print and digital, but also in other leading defense and national security forums.

Winners will be published in a future issue of Proceedings.
First Prize: $5,000 Second Prize: $2,500 Third Prize: $1,500
Open to all contributors--active-duty military, reservists, veterans, and civilians.
2,500 words maximum (excludes footnotes/endnotes/sources).

Past Contests

2018 Coast Guard Essay Contest Sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute

Lieutenant Commander Krystyn Pecora, U.S. Coast Guard

2017 Coast Guard Essay Contest Sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute

Lieutenant Commander Craig Allen Jr., U.S. Coast Guard

2016 Coast Guard Essay Contest Sponsored with Huntington Ingalls Industries

Lieutenant Commander Craig Allen Jr., U.S. Coast Guard


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