The December 2023 Proceedings outlines a scenario for a hypothetical war in the western Pacific that begins in 2026, alongside subject matter expert essays assessing how the war might play out in various warfighting domains and communities. Now the Naval Institute would like to hear from readers how the United States and its allies and partners might respond.


Using the published scenario and essays as a point of departure, anyone can contribute to the discussion of the future of naval power.

• Essays should provide recommendations for the innovations required to shape the future capabilities of the Sea Services.

• Innovations could include operational approaches for specific warfare areas, technology, weapon systems, force structure, tactics, training, or other areas.

• Entries might suggest alternate conclusions to published essays, required support, command-and-control recommendations, and preliminary net assessments.

Recommendations can be narrowly specific or broadly thematic.

Most important is that they be actionable in the near term, because the best ideas generated in this contest will be presented to senior leaders in the Sea Services and the Department of Defense and discussed widely in Proceedings, on our Podcast, and in Naval Institute conferences and forums.

Submission Guidelines

  • Open to all contributors -- active-duty military, reservists, veterans, and civilians.
  • Essays must be no more than 3,000 words, excluding footnotes, endnotes and sources. Include word count on title page of the essay.
  • Essays are judged in the blind. Do not include author name(s) on title page or within essay.
  • Submit essay as a Word document at no later than 31 March 2024.
  • Essays must be original and not published (online or 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 the Naval Institute’s Editorial Board composed of serving Sea Service professionals. 

Announcement of the Winners

The winning essays will be published in Proceedings and on the Naval Institute website. The winners will be recognized at a future Naval Institute event.


Submit your Essay


Please log in or create an account in order to make a submission.

Previous Winners