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.


Open to all contributors—active-duty military, reservists, veterans, and civilians.


2,500 words maximum (excludes endnotes/footnotes/sources).

Prior Publication

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


First Prize: $5,000 Second Prize: $2,500 Third Prize: $1,500

Submission Guidelines

  • Email essay as a Microsoft Word attachment to [email protected] with Marine Corps Essay Contest on the subject line.
  • 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 complete contact information—i.e., work, home, and cell phone numbers; and home mailing address.
  • Deadline: 31 August 2019

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

Selected Submissions

First Prize
Major Brian Kerg, U.S. Marine Corps
Second Prize
Captain Austin Dahmer, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Third Prize
Robert Kozloski
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Previous Winners