Naval Intelligence Essay Contest

The NIP Essay Contest is conducted in cooperation with the United States Naval Institute (USNI). Rules and deadlines are promulgated through an ALLNIP email and published on both the NIP and USNI websites during the March/April timeframe. Entries are due by the end of July. Winners are usually announced in early September.

Each year NIP will identify a theme pertaining to maritime intelligence or intelligence support to naval forces. Any author (officer, enlisted, military or civilian, foreign or domestic) is eligible to enter with an original composition related to the annual theme.

The CHALLENGE this year: In the face of continued Chinese military modernization and Russian agression, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has assessed that the “potential for significant international conflict is increasing.” The 2022 National Defense Strategy directs the services to “act urgently to sustain and strengthen deterrence.” Faced with this deteriorating environment, this year’s Naval Intelligence Essay Contest challenges you to think about how Naval Intelligence supports naval power across the Sea Services.

Entries for the 2024 Essay Contest are due 31 July 2024!

The following prizes will be awarded:

1st Place: $5,000 cash prize,  a 1-year membership to NIP and USNI. Additionally, the first place essay will be published in USNI’s Proceedings.
2nd Place: $2,500 case prize, a 1-year membership to both NIP and USNI
3rd Place: $1,500 cash prize, a 1-year membership to both NIP and USNI 

Contest Status:


Entries Due:

July 31
Congratulations to the 2023 Essay Contest Winners!

1st Place: "Preparing Intelligence Officers for the Undersea Fight" By Lieutenant Commander Andrew Kramer, USN, Lieutenant Corey Grey, USN, and Lieutenant Commander Larry Green, USNR

2nd Place: "Lessons from an Intelligence Officer on Ukraine's Front-Line" By Mr. Austin Gray

3rd Place: "Special Delivery: Building Better Intelligence Support for Logistics" By Major William S. (Stone) Holden, USMC



1st Place: "Alone and Afraid: Revitalizing the Enlisted Ship’s Intelligence Officer" (NIEC #11-22) By Chief Petty Officer John Minor, USN

2nd Place: "Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Integration Through Force Design 2030" (NIEC #21-22) By Captain Robert Holmes, USMC

3rd Place: "Lesson from Ukraine: Assessing Capability is More than Just Counting Guns" (NIEC #17-22) By Robert McKeown


1st Place: CDR Christopher Nelson, USN and Andrew Rhodes: “Strike A Balance: Embrace Analog Tools in a Digital Intelligence Profession” (Reprinted from Proceedings with permission; Copyright © 2020 U.S. Naval Institute/
2nd Place: Maj Brian Kerg, USMC: “Naval Intelligence for Maritime COIN”
3rd Place: LT Sean Margot, USN and LCDR Tyson Meadors, USN: “HC SVNT DRACONES — There Be Dragons” 


1st Prize: Commander J. Michael Dahm, USN (Ret)
2nd Prize: Commander Christopher Nelson, USN and Eric Pedersen
3rd Prize: LT Commander James Landreth, USN


1st Prize: 1LT Christian Helmer Heller, USMC - “Rethinking Counterintelligence: The 21st Century Need for Multi-Discipline Task-Organized Teams” 
2nd Prize: LCDR Wolf Melbourne, USN - “Ten Years on the Beach”
3rd Prize: LT William N. Murray, USN - “Want to Win Great Power Competition? Professionalize Initial Naval Intelligence Officer Training Now”


1st Prize: CDR Heather Bothwell, USNR - “Lessons from Cold War History: Man, Train and Equip the Navy to Know Tomorrow’s Adversary”
2nd Prize: CAPT William R. Bray, USN (Ret.) - “Intelligence Needs Regional Career Paths”
3rd Prize: CAPT Dale C. Rielage, USN - “Ocean Surveillance for the Future”


1st Prize: LT Andreas Xenachis, USNR - “Nurturing a Revolution in Decision-Making Through Improved Geopolitical Foresight” - $5,000 + 1-year USNI Membership
2nd Prize: CDR J. Michael Dahm, USN - “Integrate to Dominate”  - $2,500 + 1-year USNI Membership
3rd Prize: CDR Nathaniel (Nate) Bailey, USNR - “What Is Past Is Prologue”


No contest


1st Prize: Captain Mark D. Houff, USN
2nd Prize: Ms. Reychal Windham
3rd Prize: First Lieutenant Adam Davis, USA


1st Prize: Commander Mark D. Houff, USN
2nd Prize: Mr. Ryan D. Martinson
3rd Prize: Ms. Jacquelyn Schneider


1st Prize: Commander Mark D. Houff, USN
2nd Prize: Mr. Thanh Dinh
3rd Prize: Ms. Jacquelyn Schneider


1st Prize: Mr. Steve Coonen
2nd Prize: LT Daniel T. Murphy, USN
3rd Prize-Expeditionary:  LTC Gregory Motes, USA


No contest


1st Prize: CDR D. Mark Houff, USN
2nd Prize: CAPT Mark D. Dowd, USNR


1st Prize: CAPT Paul B. Becker, USN
2nd Prize: LTJG Edward P. Wynne, USN


1st Prize: LCDR Rory Berke, USN
2nd Prize: LCDR Robert F. Hight, Jr, USN


1st Prize: Mr. Jose Delgado
2nd Prize: LT David Barr, USN


1st Prize: LCDR James Griffin, USN
2nd Prize: CDR William R. Bray, USN


1st Prize: CDR Jason Hines, USN


1st Prize: LCDR Michael Studeman,USN