News | Jan. 26, 2017

Winners of the 2016 Writing Competitions

By NDU Press Joint Force Quarterly 84


The NDU Foundation Congratulates the Winners of the 2016 Writing Competitions

The NDU Foundation is proud to support the annual Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Joint Force Quarterly essay competitions. NDU Press hosted the final round of judging on May 12–13, 2016, during which 23 faculty judges from 14 participating professional military education institutions selected the best entries in each category. The First Place winners in each of the three categories are published in the following pages.

Secretary of Defense

Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition

In 2016, the 10th annual competition was intended to stimulate new approaches to coordinated civilian and military action from a broad spectrum of civilian and military students. Essays were to address U.S. Government structure, policies, capabilities, resources, and/or practices and to provide creative, feasible ideas on how best to orchestrate the core competencies of our national security institution. The NDU Foundation awarded the first place winner a generous gift certificate from


First Place
Major Lee M. Turcotte, USAF
Air Command and Staff College
“The Viability of Moral Dissent by the Military (or, Chapter 6 of the U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Conclusions Regarding the Second Internment of American Citizens”

Second Place
Colonel David Christopher Menser, USA
U.S. Army War College
“Did the United States Lose China Again?”

Third Place
Lieutenant Colonel William H. Mengel, USA
U.S. Naval War College
“Untangling the Gordian Knot? The Socio-Cultural Challenge of Syria”


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Essay Competition

This annual competition, in its 35th year in 2016, challenges students at the Nation’s joint professional military education institutions to write research papers or articles about significant aspects of national security strategy to stimulate strategic thinking, promote well-written research, and contribute to a broader security debate among professionals. The first place winners in each category received a generous gift courtesy of the NDU Foundation.

Strategic Research Paper

First Place
Lieutenant Colonel David A. Mueller, USMC
Air War College
“Civil Order and Governance as Military Responsibilities”

Second Place
Major Jeff Wong, USMCR
Marine Corps Command and Staff College
“Interwar-Period Gaming Today for Conflicts Tomorrow: Press Start to Play”

Third Place
Lieutenant Colonel Max Pearson, USAF
National War College
“Convenient but Dangerous: Understanding China's Defense”

Strategy Article

First Place
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Dean McCoy, USA
U.S. Army War College
“The Palestinian Authority Security Force: Future Prospects”

Second Place
Lieutenant Colonel Jaren Keith Price, USA
U.S. Army War College
“The Rebirth of Japan's Amphibious Forces: Regional Security Implications”

Third Place
Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin R. Jonsson, USAF
U.S. Army War College
“Terminating Conflict with the Islamic State”

Joint Force Quarterly Maerz Awards

In its inaugural year, the JFQ Maerz Awards, chosen by the staff of NDU Press, recognizes the most influential articles from the previous year's four issues of JFQ. Five outstanding articles were chosen for the Maerz Awards, named in honor of Mr. George C. Maerz, former writer-editor of NDU Press.

Best Forum Article
Dorothy E. Denning, “Rethinking the Cyber Domain and Deterrence,” JFQ 77 (2nd Quarter 2015)

Best Features Article
Vincent A. Manzo, “After the First Shots: Managing Escalation in Northeast Asia,” JFQ 77 (2nd Quarter, 2015)

Best JPME Today Article
Burton H. Catledge, “Debunking Technical Competency as a Sole Source of Innovation,” JFQ 76 (1st Quarter, 2015)

Best Recall Article
John Erath, “Union Success in the Civil War and Lessons for Strategic Leaders,” JFQ 77 (2nd Quarter, 2015)

Best Commentary Article
William M. Marcellino, “Revisioning Strategic Communication through Rhetoric and Discourse Analysis,” JFQ 76 (1st Quarter, 2015)


Distinguished Judges

Twenty-three senior faculty members from the 14 participating PME institutions took time out of their busy schedules to serve as judges. Their personal dedication and professional excellence ensured a strong and credible competition.

2016 Essay Competition Judges

Front row, left to right: Dr. Kathryn Fisher, College of International Security Affairs; Ms. Joanna E. Seich, NDU Press; Dr. Richard DiNardo, Marine Corps Staff College; Dr. Benjamin (Frank) Cooling, Eisenhower School; Dr. Linda Di Desidero, Marine Corps University; Dr. Greg McGuire, Joint Forces Staff College. Middle row, left to right: Dr. Geoffrey Gresh, College of International Security Affairs; Dr. Lindsay P. Cohn, Naval War College; Dr. Carl “CJ” Horn, Information Resources Management College; Dr. Charles C. Chadbourn III, Naval War College; Dr. Anand Toprani, Naval War College; Dr. Margaret Sankey, Air War College; Col James Gannon, USMC, Naval War College. Back row, left to right: Dr. Bernard I. Finel, National War College; Dr. William T. Eliason, Editor in Chief, <span class="CharOverride-2">JFQ</span>; Captain Bill Marlowe, USN (Ret.), Joint Forces Staff College; Dr. Ryan Wadle, Air Command and Staff College; Dr. Paul J. Springer, Air Command and Staff College.

Not shown: Dr. Antulia (Tony) Echevarria, U.S. Army War College; Dr. Richard B. Andres, National War College; Dr. Larry D. Miller, U.S. Army War College; Mr. Larry Garber, Eisenhower School; Dr. James Lacey, Marine Corps War College; Mr. John L. O’Brien, Information Resources Management College; Dr. Harold R. Winton, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.

Photo by Katie Lewis, NDU

NDU Foundation

The NDU Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established in 1982 to support and enhance the mission and goals of the National Defense University, America’s preeminent institution for military, civilian, and diplomatic national security education, research, outreach, and strategic studies. The Foundation promotes excellence and innovation in education by nurturing high standards of scholarship, leadership, and professionalism. It brings together dedicated individuals, corporations, organizations, and groups that are committed to advancing America’s national security and defense capabilities through the National Defense University. The Foundation provides NDU with privately funded resources for:

  • Education, Research, Library, and Teaching Activities
  • Academic Chairs, Faculty Fellowships, and Student Awards
  • Endowments, Honoraria, Seminars, and Conferences
  • Multicultural, International, and Interagency Programs
  • National Security and Homeland Defense Outreach

Keep informed about NDU Foundation activities by visiting online at: