The Challenge

The Sea Services have a rich history. There is much to be learned from history on multiple fronts—people, battles, strategy, tactics, leadership, values, traditions. While the CNO invites you to write on a naval historical topic of your choice, your essay should relate in some way to establishing and maintaining maritime superiority in today's environment. The essay should provide your readers with a lesson learned from history that can be applied to today.


3,000 word maximum (excludes footnotes/endnotes/sources).

Prior Publication

Your essay must be original and not previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere.


(Two categories)

Professional Historians

U.S. and international professional historians (historian jobs including history museum curators, history teachers/professors, PhDs, published history authors.

$5,000 — First Prize

$2,500 — Second Prize

$1,500 — Third Prize

Rising Historians

U.S. Sea Service-wide active, reserve, retired, and civilians not included in above.

$5,000 — First Prize

$2,500 — Second Prize

$1,500 — Third Prize

Submission Guidelines

  • Email essay as a Microsoft Word attachment to [email protected] with CNO Naval History Essay Contest on subject line of the email.
  • Include word count on title page of essay but do not include your name on title page or within essay.
  • Provide a separate attachment to include bio and complete contact information— i.e., work, home, and cell phone numbers; and home mailing address.
  • Deadline: 31 May 2019


This contest is judged in the blind. The Judging Committee will be composed of naval historians from the U.S. Naval Institute, U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval History and Heritage Command, and Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Announcement of the Winners

All winners will be recognized by the CNO at an event in the Summer of 2019. Winners will be published in Naval History magazine or Proceedings and online with the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). Other essays may be published in Naval History or Proceedings and/or online by the NHHC.