Marine Corps Essay Contest

Sponsored by BAE Systems

The Challenge:

Advance new thinking about how the U.S. Marine Corps will tackle the diverse and difficult security challenges of the 21st century. No issue is too big or too narrow as long as it aims to make the Marine Corps stronger.  Authors may be critical and challenge conventional wisdom, current policies, and practices. Dare to write about the toughest and most difficult issues; the topics that everyone knows need addressing, but some are hesitant to acknowledge.

Prior Publication: Your essay must be original , not been previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Email essay as a Microsoft Word document by 31 August 2018 to: [email protected]
  • Include Marine Corps Essay Contest in subject line of email
  • Include word count on title page of the essay but do not include your name on title page or in the body of the essay
  • Provide a bio and detailed contact information in a separate attachment.

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: Winners will be published in the November issue of Proceedings. Some entrants will be awarded a one-year membership in the Naval Institute.

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 the November 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 endnotes and sources).

Past Contests

2018 Marine Corps Essay Contest Sponsored by BAE Systems

Major Nick Brunetti-Lihach, U.S. Marine Corps

2017 Marine Corps Essay Contest Sponsored By General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.), General John Allen, USMC (Ret.), and Lieutenant General Wallace Gregson, USMC (Ret.)

Captain James Skeffington, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve


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As an independent forum for over 140 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

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