March 25, 2022:
Coordinators provide names of judges to NDU Press

April 22, 2022:
Deadline for schools to submit nominated papers to NDU Press

May 6, 2022:
Judges report first-round scores to NDU Press

May 12-13, 2022:
Judges attend final-round conference at NDU


For further information, please contact:

Jeff Smotherman
Managing Editor

CJCS National Defense and Military Strategy Essay Competition

National Defense University (NDU) Press will host the 41st Annual CJCS Essay Competition for Academic Year 2021-2022, culminating in the final round of judging in May 2022. This competition challenges students at joint professional military education (JPME) institutions to research and write scholarly essays about significant aspects of national defense and military strategy.

The purpose of this competition is to stimulate thinking about national defense and military strategy, promote well-written research, and contribute to a broader security debate among professionals. NDU Press manages the competition in three phases, with assistance from coordinators and faculty judges representing each participating JPME school. First, the schools conduct internal competitions and submit their best essays to NDU Press. Second, judges evaluate nominated essays from other schools at their home station via the Internet. Finally, judges travel to NDU for the final round conference to determine winners in each category.

Students may enter essays in one of two categories: Strategic Research Essay and Strategy Article.

Click here to read the competition rules

The 2021 Winning Essays: CJCS Strategic Research Paper

Strategic Research Paper

First Place (Tie)
Captain Aaron Smith, USMC

Marine Corps University–Expeditionary Warfare School
“Purpose-Built Antiarmor Teams: An Imperative for the Marine Corps Ground Combat Element”

First Place (Tie)
Major Douglas J. Verblaauw, USMC

Marine Corps University
“Degrading China’s Integrated Maritime Campaign”

Second Place
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher G. Adams, USAF; Lieutenant Commander Camilo Carillo, USN; Lieutenant Colonel Christopher W. McLeod, USSF; and Lieutenant Colonel Amber R. White, USA
Joint Forces Staff College–Joint and Combined Warfighting School
“Deterrence in Space: Apply the Fundamentals”

Third Place
Commander Timothy Chesser, USN; Lieutenant Colonel Jason Seitz, USAF; Lieutenant Commander Dan Owens, USGC; and Major Chris Telley, USA

Joint Forces Staff College–Joint and Combined Warfighting School
“Angling for Competition: Countering Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing as Irregular Warfare”

Strategy Article

First Place
Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Renahan, USA

U.S. Army War College
“Realizing Energy Independence on U.S. Military Bases”

Second Place
Commander John Ferrari, USN; Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Miller, USAF; Major Steven Lem, USA; and Lieutenant Colonel Carmona March, USA

Joint Forces Staff College–Joint and Combined Warfighting School
“The Truth Is Out There: State-Sponsored Narratives and Credibility After International Incidents”

Third Place
Jonathan Dixon, Department of the Treasury

National War College
“Climate Change and a Nuclear North Korea”

For the 2022 competition, the winning and other worthy essays will be published in Joint Force Quarterly 107 (4th Quarter 2022), the CJCS professional military, interagency, and security studies journal; or in the journal PRISM, the Journal of the Center for Complex Operations; or in other NDU Press publications as appropriate. Authors of the first-, second-, and third-place essays will be recognized by the CJCS with certificates and—if conditions permit—a personal meeting with the Chairman. 

This is a joint, interagency writing competition, and essays are expected to meet rigorous academic standards. Thus senior faculty commitment in each participating college or school is an imperative for a healthy competition. Faculty essay coordinators are requested to actively promote and inform students of the opportunity to compete with their colleagues, and faculty judges are requested to make a significant investment of their time in reading and evaluating essays during both phases of judging.