The Challenge:

Write on a topic that makes the naval profession stronger. No subject is too large or too small. For example:

  • Identify opportunities to better use enlisted professionals' talents.
  • Share leadership best practices.
  • Improve tactical doctrine.
  • Identify unfair rules or policies.
  • Provide insider information to Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
  • Help first-tour ensigns and/or second lieutenants do their jobs more effectively.


Open to enlisted personnel—active duty, reserve and retired--from any of the nation's sea services.

Submission Guidelines

  • Word Count: 1,500 words maximum (excludes endnotes/sources).
  • Include word count on the title page but do not include your name on title page or within the essay.
  • Note: Your essay must be original and not previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere. 

First Prize: $3,000

Second Prize: $2,000

Third Prize: $1,000

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 members 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 a future issue of Proceedings and recognized at WEST 2021.

Selected Submissions

First Prize
Petty Officer First Class John C. Minor, U.S. Navy
Second Prize
Chief Boatswain's Mate Phillip Null, U.S. Coast Guard
Third Prize
Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Clutter, U.S. Navy
Sponsored by
Naval Institute

Previous Winners