The Challenge

The Nation’s adversaries and competitors are proving to be formidable in the digital battlespace—using online platforms, social media, malicious code, disinformation, and cyberattacks to undermine elections, steal intellectual property, spy on governments, sow discord, and weaken alliances. Participants can choose to answer one of the following questions or write on another IW topic that interests them.

  • How might the opening salvoes of the next war begin in the information space,and what should be done now to defend against those attacks? How might our adversaries be planning to win without fighting by using IW?
  • What specific information warfare technologies (offensive and defensive) should the U.S. military be investing in now?
  • How can the military recruit, educate, train, and retain the information warriors it needs to prevail in the information environment?
  • Are there any recent case studies (that went well or poorly) that can provide lessons to guide strategy, operations, tactics, or acquisition over the next 3 to 5 years?
  • How will electronic warfare and emissions control play a role in the future of naval warfare?

Submission Guidelines

  • Open to all contributors -- active-duty, military, reservists, veterans, and civilians.
  • Essays must be no more than 2,500 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 no later than 30 November 2020.
  • Essay must be original and not previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere. 

First Prize: $5,000

Second Prize: $2,500

Third Prize: $1,500

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.

Announcement of the Winners

The winning essays will be published in Proceedings magazine and on the Naval Institute website. The winners will be recognized during the Naval Institute–AFCEA WEST 2021 Conference.

Selected Submissions

First Prize
Captain Don Gomez, U.S. Army
Second Prize
Lieutenant Commander Ryan Hilger, U.S. Navy
Third Prize
Captain Will McGee, U.S. Marine Corps
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Previous Winners