The Challenge 

Conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East offer real-world case studies in modern technology applied to enduring conflicts. Militaries around the globe are working to gain insights from these conflicts and apply them to their own situations and national interests. At the same time, U.S. Navy leaders aspire to double down on technological change in the face of meager resources and institutional resistance. This year’s Naval Intelligence Essay Contest challenges you to think about the roles of naval intelligence in this dynamic and uncertain future. Potential themes include:

  • How can naval intelligence most effectively sense, understand, and convey insights from current conflicts while guarding against simplistic and misleading lessons?
  • Has integrating naval intelligence into the information warfare community positioned it most effectively to support the future Navy? • How might widespread Navy employment of unmanned systems affect naval intelligence?
  • In a world in which commercial providers sell targeting-quality maritime intelligence as a service, what is the role of naval intelligence professionals in a future Navy?
  • What lessons does the recent real-world employment of land-based fires against maritime platforms offer for naval intelligence?

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 31 July 2024.
  • 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

A panel of expert judges compiled by the U.S.  Naval Institute and Naval Intelligence Professionals will evaluate and judge all entries submitted to the contest. Essays will be judged in the blind—i.e., the judging panel 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 recognized at the Naval Intelligence Professionals' Annual Meeting.


Submit your Essay


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Cosponsored by
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Naval Intelligence Professionals
Cosponsored by
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U.S. Naval Institute

Previous Winners

2023 Naval Intelligence Essay Contest Cosponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute and Naval Intelligence Professionals

First Prize
Lieutenant Commander Andrew Kramer, Lieutenant Commander Larry Green, and Lieutenant Corey Grey, U.S. Navy
Third Prize
Special Delivery: Building Better Intelligence Support for Logistics
Major William S. Holden, U.S. Marine Corps