THE CHALLENGE

The post–Cold War period has ended, and we are living in momentous times—an era of intense global competition. The 2018 National Defense Strategy says the U.S. military is emerging from a period of “strategic atrophy.” The conventional overmatch the U.S. military enjoyed at the end of the Cold War is eroding. We are also in the midst of a technological tsunami: artificial intelligence, 5G, additive manufacturing, quantum science, energetics, new materials, and synthetic biology. Renewed competition will require us to rethink our culture, to come to grips with how we organize to face the national, strategic, and operational challenges facing the Sea Services, and thereby the way they will have to fight.” The National Defense Strategy says we have to pursue “urgent change at significant scale.” Do we have the right culture to embrace it?

  • What lessons did we learn and what habits did we form over the past 25 years that do not apply to the next 25?
  • What specific metrics should the Sea Services rely on to determine if their culture is right?
  • What reforms in education and training will or should advance our Services?
  • Do the different cultures of the warfare areas add to or detract from, or even damage, the overall Service cultures?”

Submission Guidelines

  • Open to all contributors -- active-duty military, reservists, veterans, and civilians.
  • Essays must be no more than 3,000 words, excluding end notes and sources. Include word count on title page of the essay.
  • Essays are judged in the blind. Do not include your name on the title page or in the body of the essay.
  • Submit essay as a Word document at www.usni.org/genessay no later than 31 December 2020.
  • Essay must be original and not previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere. 

First Prize: $6,000

Second Prize: $3,000

Third Prize: $2,000

Selection Process

The Proceedings staff members will evaluate every essay and screen the top essays to the Naval Institute’s Editorial Board composed of serving Sea Service professionals. 

Announcement of the Winners

The winning essays will be published in the May 2021 Proceedings and on the Naval Institute website. The winners will be recognized at a future Naval Institute event.

Deadline

Submit your Essay

 

Please log in or create an account in order to make a submission.

Funded by
Andrew and Barbara Taylor

Previous Winners

2010 General Prize Essay Contest

PRIZE
TITLE
NAME
First Prize
Captain Victor G. Addison Jr., U.S. Navy
First Prize
Captain Victor G. Addison Jr., U.S. Navy
First Prize
Captain Victor G. Addison Jr., U.S. Navy
First Prize
Captain Victor G. Addison Jr., U.S. Navy
Second Prize
Dr. Joe DiRenzo III and Vice Admiral James D. Hull, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)
Third Prize
Captain Brian J. Donlon, U.S. Marine Corps
Third Prize
Kirk Ross

1921 General Prize Essay Contest

PRIZE
TITLE
NAME
Prize Winner
Captain J. V. Chase, U.S. Navy
Honorable Mention
Lieutenant Commander Holloway H. Frost, U. S. Navy
Honorable Mention
Commander G. C. Westervelt, U. S. Navy, and H. B. Sanford
Honorable Mention
Captain J. K. Taussig, U. S. Navy
Honorable Mention
Captain T. T. Craven, U. S. Navy
Honorable Mention
Captain R. Drace White, U. S. Navy

1916 General Prize Essay Contest

PRIZE
TITLE
NAME
Prize Winner
Lieutenant Junior Grade H. H. Frost, U. S. Navy
First Honorable Mention
Lieutenant Commander J. K. Taussig, U. S. Navy
Second Honorable Mention
Lieutenant Ridgely Hunt, U. S. Navy
Third Honorable Mention
Commander D. W. Knox, U. S. Navy
Third Honorable Mention
Lieutenant Commander Thomas Lee Johnson, U. S. Navy