USNI News Delivers
USNI News continues its remarkable growth, reaching yet another significant milestone in June. The site surpassed 20 million page views since it launched in February 2013. The ever-expanding audience is attracted to the insightful original reporting and the consistent quality content. Over the past three years, readers have learned they can depend on USNI News for reliable information on emerging national defense issues.
Conceived in 2012, USNI News started as a nascent section on the Naval Institute’s main webpage. Traffic was light over the first few months as the new product worked to find its sea legs. USNI News steadily began to build an audience and show its potential. The first article to receive substantial traffic and international attention was the exclusive story about Ronald Reagan’s secret plan to supply warships to the Royal Navy for the Falklands Conflict.
With increasing momentum and a loyal core audience, the current version of USNI News debuted as its own site in early 2013. On its third day, USNI News scored a major coup by being the first media outlet to report that the Navy would have to delay the refueling of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) because of defense budget cuts. The site has dramatically trended upward since then by routinely posting stories that get cited by national and international press. USNI News recently received recognition by the global media for breaking the story about Navy Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin, who was arrested for passing classified information to China.
This remarkable performance and success are the result of two hard-working professional journalists—Sam LaGrone and Megan Eckstein—and one savvy communications manager—Scot Christenson.
Almost everyone I meet tells me that he or she starts the day by reading USNI News. If you are not doing the same, you are missing out on reliable, timely information important to the naval profession.
Essay Contests and Awards Generate Quality Content
As you know from the content in Proceedings, we are placing a great deal of emphasis on essay contests. Essay contests have been part of the Naval Institute’s fabric since 13 June 1878. On that date, with Commander Alfred Thayer Mahan the chair at the time and Vice President of the Naval Institute, Commander William T. Sampson, U.S. Navy, delivered his committee’s report outlining the rules proposed for the Prize Essay Contest. Commander Sampson’s proposal was adopted without change.
This action created the Naval Institute’s first essay contest. In 1948, the Naval Institute’s Board changed the name to the General Prize Essay Contest. During 1985–2007 the name changed to the Arleigh Burke Essay Contest to honor World War II hero and Cold War CNO and Naval Institute President Admiral Arleigh Burke. (See in this issue, “Arleigh Burke: Leader, Ship Class, and Prologue,” page 52.)
As I reported to you in my May column, the General Prize Essay Contest has been funded in perpetuity by generous gifts from Andrew and Barbara Taylor and the Crawford Taylor Foundation of St. Louis, Missouri. Past prize winners of the contest include: Lieutenant Ernest J. King (1909); Captain Wayne Hughes (1981); Lieutenant Commander James Stavridis (1984); Commander James (Sandy) Winnefeld, Jr. (1994); and Lieutenant David Adams (1997). I would be remiss in not pointing out that Admiral Stavridis is the Chair of the Institute’s Board; Admiral Winnefeld was elected to the Board in April; and Captain Adams will be joining the Proceedings staff in August.
Essay contests stimulate interest and motivate potential authors to dare to write. The results are measurable. These contests generate discussions of issues important to the naval profession and quality content for publication.
In this issue, we are delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 Cyber Essay Contest, sponsored with Hewlett Packard Enterprise:
• First Prize, $5,000: “To Rule the Ether . . .” by James Young (Note: This essay is published on pages 24–27 in this issue.)
• Second Prize, $2,500: “Learn to Love the Bomb: The Case for a Strong Cyber Deterrent” by Lieutenant Blake Herzinger, U.S. Navy
• Third Prize, $1,500: “Declaratory Policy as a DOD Cyber Priority” by Elizabeth Whitfield
Also, in this issue, we are publishing the first General James N. Mattis Professional Writing Award. The Expeditionary Warfare School submitted 15 of the top essays of its most recent class to Proceedings. Not only is the winning essay, “Close the Counter–UAS Gap,” by Captain Justin McCann, U.S. Marine Corps, published on pages 54–57, but another essay, “Focus on the Marines,” by Captain Travis Grell, U.S. Marine Corps, appears on pages 18–22. Other essays submitted will be published in future issues.
Every issue of Proceedings is made stronger by these contests. The Enlisted Prize Essay Contest, sponsored with Textron Systems, cycles twice a year. We published the first prizewinner in the June issue—“Share Who We Are” by Hospital Corpsman Second Class Crystal Tao, U.S. Navy Reserve.
The other prizewinners were:
• Second Prize, $2,000: “Seek and Destroy; Pre-Separation Mental Health Treatment to Prevent Criminality” by Machinist’s Mate Second Class Jessica R. Smedley, U.S. Navy
• Third Place—two winners splitting $1,000:
“No Borders, No Nation,” by Chief Kurt Yockel, U.S. Coast Guard
“Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure Teams Need More Time to Train,” by Senior Chief Lance M. Connolly, U.S. Navy (Senior Chief Connolly’s essay is published in this month’s “From the Deckplates” column, page 14.)
Finally, these essay contests bring us into relationships with many more wonderful people than those who write the essays. There are the sponsors who make the broad range of essay contests possible. The leaders in these sponsoring corporations and foundations, and other individuals are investing in the future thought-leaders, and at the same time, gleaning new thinking generated by the essays to help them strengthen their organizations and better serve their customers and/or members and supporters.
We also owe a special thanks to the legion of volunteers who serve as the members of the various essay contests’ screening committees and judges. In a year, with nine sponsored and three other essay contests, approximately 150 people are investing their time and energy to make this effort possible.
This is an incredible story—thanks again to all who make it happen.
Maritime Security Dialogue Is Cooking
Our 2016 series on Maritime Security Dialogue, sponsored by the Naval Institute and CSIS, continues with two programs in July. These events provide an important opportunity to engage with the practitioners who help make the Maritime Strategy become a reality.
8 July 2016
Delivering on the Vision for the Future of Submarine Warfare
RADM Mike Jabaley, USN, PEO Subs
RADM Charles A. Richard, USN, Undersea Warfare Division Director
22 July 2016
What Is the Future of Naval Innovation and Capabilities?
RADM Matt Winter, USN, Chief of Naval Research
These events are free and held at CSIS, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. We hope you will join us at one or both events.
Peter H. Daly, VADM, USN (Ret.)
Life Member and Member since 1978