The Challenge

What can the U.S. Coast Guard do today to be more effective tomorrow? All topics are welcome, and no issue is too big or too small. Authors might consider:

  • Changes required to meet new global missions
  • Barriers preventing the Coast Guard from fully executing its missions and how to remove them
  • How best to integrate the Coast Guard's unique authorities and capabilities with the other sea services
  • Innovative ideas to help make the Coast Guard a more capable instrument of national power globally
  • How to leverage partnerships to more cooperatively defend and secure the homeland

Consider how to make the Coast Guard stronger. This does not mean authors cannot be critical and take on "it's always been done that way" practices. In fact, we encourage you to push the "dare factor."

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 author name(s) on the title page or within the body of the essay.
  • Submit essay as a Word document at no later than 30 April 2021.
  • 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. All essays will be judged in the blind—i.e., the Proceedings staff members and judges will not know the authors of the essays. Since we receive so many submissions (more than 100 per month!), notification of acceptance on one of our platforms can take 4-6 months. We will notify you via email if your essay is selected for a prize or for publication.

Announcement of the Winners

Winners will be published in the August 2021 Proceedings.

Selected Submissions

First Prize
Commander Craig H. Allen Jr., U.S. Coast Guard
Second Prize
Lieutenant (junior grade) Evan Twarog and Lieutenants Joseph Kidwell and Caleb James, U.S. Coast Guard
Third Prize
Lieutenant Commander David Zwirblis, U.S. Coast Guard
Sponsored by
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Naval Institute

Previous Winners

2022 Coast Guard Essay Contest Cosponsored by Susan Curtin and the U.S. Naval Institute

First Prize
Commander Craig Allen Jr., U.S. Coast Guard
Second Prize
Lieutenant Holden Takahashi, U.S. Coast Guard
Third Prize
Lieutenant Christopher Booth, U.S. Coast Guard, and Auxiliarist Mark Snell, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary