The Challenge

This contest encourages Navy, Marine and Coast Guard midshipmen, cadets, and officer candidates (Naval Academy, NROTC, Coast Guard Academy, Kings Point, and Officer Candidate Schools) to think and write about the challenges that face the Sea Services today and in the coming decade. Some questions to consider include: How can the different services partner in new ways to enhance national security? How will peer competition with China and Russia impact your Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine? What capabilities will tomorrow's forces require that are not yet in the force? What could the academies learn from NROTC or OCS and vice-versa? Are naval commissioning sources preparing future officers well for what lies ahead? And what lessons from the past should guide your futures?

U.S. Coast Guard cadets on parade

 

 

 

Eligibility

 

 

 

Open to Navy, Marine and Coast Guard midshipmen, cadets, and officer candidates (Naval Academy, NROTC, Coast Guard Academy, Kings Point, and Officer Candidate Schools).

 

 

 

Length

 

 

 

2,000 words maximum (excludes footnotes/endnotes/sources).

 

 

 

Prior Publication

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Awards

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Submission Guidelines

 

 

 

  • 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.

 

 

 

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 top three winners will be published in Proceedings magazine.

 

 

 

Selected Submissions

PRIZE
TITLE
NAME
First Prize
Midshipman 1/C Benjamin Chiacchia, U.S. Navy
Second Prize
Lessons on the Ground from an Officer Trainee
Officer Trainee Daniel Piscoya, U.S. Coast Guard
Third Prize
Geography and Deterrence: Near Peer Competition and Future Challenges to the Navy and Marine Corps Team
Midshipman 1/C Joshua Hano, U.S. Navy

Previous Winners

2021 Midshipmen and Cadets Essay Contest Sponsored by the Naval Institute

PRIZE
TITLE
NAME
First Prize
Commerce Warfare Capabilities as an Act of Deterrence
Midshipman 1/C Robert Hatfield III, U.S. Navy
Second Prize
Building a Midshipman to Rebuild a Culture
Midshipman 1/C Matthew Martin, U.S. Navy
Third Prize
The (School) House Always Wins: Refocus the Coast Guard Academy's Priorities
Cadet 1/C Logan Tobias, U.S. Coast Guard