February 2024:
Coordinators provide names of judges to NDU Press.

April 2024:
Deadline for schools to submit nominated papers to NDU Press (POC: Jeff Smotherman,

May 2024:
Judges report first-round scores to NDU Press.

May 2024:
Judges attend final-round conference at NDU.


For further information, please contact:

Jeff Smotherman
Managing Editor

Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Essay Competitions

Are you a Professional Military Education (PME) student? Imagine your winning essay appearing in a future issue of Joint Force Quarterly and a chance to catch the ear of the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) on an important national security issue. Recognition by peers await the winners.

Who's Eligible: Students at the PME colleges, schools, and other educational programs, including Service research fellows and international students.

What: Research and write an original, unclassified essay in one (or more) various categories.

When: Essays may be written during the 2023–2024 academic year. Colleges are responsible for running their own internal competitions to select nominees, and must meet these deadlines:

  • April 2024: Colleges submit nominated essays to NDU Press for first-round judging
  • May 2024: Final-round judging and selection of winners

For complete information and competition rules, see your college’s essay coordinator or go to: