The Challenge

Bring new thinking about how the U.S. Marine Corps will tackle the security challenges of the coming decades. No issue is too big or too narrow -- as long as it aims to make the Marine Corps stronger or more capable. Stand-in forces; great power competition; EABO; and Force Design 2030 are just a few of the important ongoing topics. Dare to write about the toughest issues.

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 the author(s) 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

The winners will be published in the November issue of Proceedings.

Selected Submissions

First Prize
Lieutenant Colonel Brian Donlon, U.S. Marine Corps
Second Prize
Colonel Pat Garrett, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired) and Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hoffman, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Retired)
Third Prize
Captain Karl Flynn, U.S. Marine Corps
Sponsored by
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Previous Winners