The Challenge

Advance new thinking about how the U.S. Marine Corps will tackle the diverse and difficult security challenges of the 21st century. No issue is too big or too narrow as long as it aims to make the Marine Corps stronger. Authors may be critical and challenge conventional wisdom, current policies, and practices. Dare to write about the toughest and most difficult issues; the topics everyone knows need addressing, but some are hesitant to acknowledge.

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
  • 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

Winners will be published in the November issue of Proceedings.

Selected Submissions

First Prize
Captain Will McGee, U.S. Marine Corps
Second Prize
Captain Walker D. Mills, U.S. Marine Corps and Erik Limpaecher
Third Prize
Sergeant Abraham Cheng, U.S. Marine Corps
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Previous Winners