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The Challenge:

Leadership in the Sea Services: The Junior Officers' Perspective

The 2018 Leadership Essay Contest focuses on the roles of leadership and character in America's Sea Services.

About the Leadership Essay Contest

Leadership is a much discussed topic, hence this contest will address it from an unusual slant, first by confining itself to the views of junior officers, second by encouraging authors to answer questions along the following lines:

  • What does leadership look like to the led? What does it look like from below? From beside?
  • What qualities and characteristics define leadership for those who are themselves young leaders who aspire to command?
  • Can leadership be defined...or only recognized?
  • Can leadership be taught...or only learned?
  • How can leadership be nurtured?
  • What does character have to do with leadership?
  • What is the role of mentors?
  • What were the great naval leaders saying about leaders and leadership when they themselves were junior officers?
  • What other lessons can be drawn from naval history?
  • Why do so many people believe their experience as a naval officer changed their lives - whether they continued to serve on active duty or not?

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

Submission Guidelines:

  • Email essay as a Microsoft Word atatchment by 31 October 2018 to: [email protected]
  • Include Leadership Essay Contest on subject line of email
  • Include word count on title page of essay but do not include your name on title page or within essay
  • Provide separate attachment to include biography and complete contact information -- i.e., work, home, and cell phone numbers; and home mailing address

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.

Announcement of the Winners: The winning essays will be announced in the January 2019 issue of Proceedings.

About Naval Institute Essay Contests

Essay contests have been central to the work of the Naval Institute for more than 130 years. They directly fulfill the Institute's educational mission by encouraging writing on issues of concern to the Sea Services. They provide thought-provoking articles that spur ongoing discussion of these same issues, not only in Naval Institute media, print and digital, but also in other leading defense and national security forums.

Essay Publication: Winners will be announced in the January 2019 Proceedings.

Essay Awards: First Prize: $5,000 Second Prize: $2,500 Third Prize: $1,500

Essay Eligibility: Junior officers (LCDR/Major and below) from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard are eligible to take part in this contest.

Essay Length: 2,250 words maximum (excludes endnotes/resources).

Essay Year: 2018