The Challenge

The Chief of Naval Operations invites entrants to submit an essay that applies lessons from throughout naval history to establishing and maintaining maritime superiority in an era of great power competition. Entrants should consider that today's era is marked by determined efforts by China and Russia to use all instruments of national power (e.g., economic, political, and military) to compete for commercial, geostrategic, political, and military advantage and access. Essays should provide lessons from history that can be applied today.

Eligibility

Anyone can enter the essay contest who is employed by one of the Sea Services. It is open to all civilian employees who work for the Navy, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps. It is also open to all military who are in the Navy, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps, regardless of rank.

Submission Guidelines

  • Word Count: 3,000 words maximum (excludes endnotes/sources).
  • Include the the essay category with the title (Professional or Rising) in the essay submission form.
  • Include word count on the title page but do not include your name on title page or within the essay.
  • Note: Essays must be the author's original work, neither previously published (online or in print) or currently under consideration for publication elsewhere, nor previously submitted to the CNO Naval History Essay Contest.
  • Entrants may submit multiple essays, but the judging panel will select only one winning essay per entrant.
  • Author bios should include details of the author's eligibility for this contest.

Prizes

(Two categories)

Professional Historians:

U.S. and international professional historians (historian jobs including history museum curators, history teachers/professors, PhDs, published history authors).

$5,000 — First Prize

Rising Historians:

Active-duty, reserve, retired, and federal civilian personnel from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard not included in the Professional category.

$5,000 — First Prize

$2,500 — Second Prize

$1,500 — Third Prize

a.  Invitational travel orders to the 2020 CNO Naval History Essay Contest Awards Reception in fall 2020 to meet the CNO and present their respective papers.

b.  Winners will be published in Naval History magazine or Proceedings and online with the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). Other essays may be published in Naval History or Proceedings and/or online by NHHC.

c. Copper sheathing from USS CONSTITUTION.

d.  A one-year Naval Institute membership and a one-year subscription to Naval History magazine (courtesy of the Naval Institute).

Judging

Essays will be judged on the following criteria:

    a.  Relevance to the topic:  Applying lessons from naval history to establishing and maintaining maritime superiority in an era of great power competition;

    b.  Readability;

    c.  Thoroughness of research;

    d.  Quality of insights based on historical events;

    e.  Uniqueness/novelty of ideas presented.

This contest is judged in the blind. The Judging Committee will be composed of naval historians from the U.S. Naval Institute, U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval History and Heritage Command, and the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

The U.S. Naval Institute thanks General Dynamics for providing support for this contest.
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Previous Winners

2019 CNO Naval History Essay Contest Sponsored with General Dynamics

CATEGORY
PRIZE
TITLE
NAME
Professional Historian
First Prize
Commander Joel Holwitt, U.S. Navy
Professional Historian
Second Prize
Salvatore R. Mercogliano
Professional Historian
Third Prize
Commander Joel Holwitt, U.S. Navy
Rising Historian
First Prize
Lieutenant Commander Jeff Vandenengel, U.S. Navy
Rising Historian
Second Prize
Lieutenant Commander Ryan P. Hilger, U.S. Navy
Rising Historian
Third Prize
Lieutenant Philip D. Mayer, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy

2018 CNO Naval Hisory Essay Contest Sponsored with General Dynamics

CATEGORY
PRIZE
TITLE
NAME
Professional Historian
First Prize
Rear Admiral James Goldrick, Royal Australian Navy (Retired)
Professional Historian
Second Prize
Commander Joel Holwitt, U.S. Navy
Professional Historian
Third Prize
Lieutenant Colonel Frank G. Hoffman, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Retired)
Rising Historian
First Prize
Lieutenant Robert E. Swain III, U.S. Navy
Rising Historian
Second Prize
Vice Admiral James R. Fitzgerald and Rear Admiral Richard F. Pittenger, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Rising Historian
Third Prize
Achieving Dominance in the Cyber Domain: Lessons from Rickover’s Development of the Nuclear Navy
Lieutenant G. Creigh Greensmith, U.S. Navy

2017 CNO Naval History Essay Contest Sponsored with General Dynamics

CATEGORY
PRIZE
TITLE
NAME
Professional Historian
First Prize
Lieutenant Commander Joel Holwitt, U.S. Navy
Professional Historian
Second Prize
Trent Hone
Professional Historian
Third Prize
Ryan Wadle
Rising Historian
First Prize
Lieutenant John Miller, U.S. Navy
Rising Historian
Second Prize
Lieutenant Colonel James W. Hammond III, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
Rising Historian
Third Prize
Lieutenant (junior grade) Daniel Stefanus, U.S. Navy