The Council on Geostrategy was delighted to announce the launch of the First Sea Lord’s Essay Contest 2023. The winners received in-person invitations to the First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference 2023 – hosted at Lancaster House and King’s College London from 16th to 17th May – and had a prize presented by Adm. Sir Ben Key, the First Sea Lord, at the Black Tie Dinner at Lancaster House on 16th May.

To be considered for the prizes, entrants must write a 1,250 word essay (+/- 10%) answering one of the following questions:

  1. What should the art of admiralty involve in a competitive, maritime age?
  2. How can navies be used to dissuade rivals and deter opponents in an era of increasing geopolitical competition?
  3. With modern missiles and direct-energy weapons, will warships become obsolete?
  4. How does a navy that strives for operational advantage to fight and win demonstrate its ethical prowess and pivot around employee experience?

The prizes include: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The winners were presented their prizes at a Black Tie Dinner for the First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference at Lancaster House on 16th May 2023.

Three winners were selected and received an award. The prizes included the cash prizes and a ticket to First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference 2023. Congratulations to Cdr. Chris O. for winning the Gold Prize, Cdt. Joe Reilly for winning the Silver Prize and Lt. Cdr. (rtd.) Tim Dickens VR for winning the Bronze prize.

Judging of entries

An independent judging panel of scholars and professionals was formed to consider the submissions.

We are delighted to reveal the members of the independent judging panel:

  • Dr Anna Brinkman-Schwartz, Lecturer in Defence Studies and Co-director Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies at King’s College London;
  • Cdre. Catherine Jordan, Head Royal Navy Culture;
  • Prof. Alessio Patalano, Professor of War and Strategy in East Asia in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London;
  • James Rogers, Co-Founder and Director of Research at the Council on Geostrategy;
  • Capt. Dr Kevin Rowlands, Head of the Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre.

General information

Eligibility: The competition was open to all – there were no entrance requirements.

Guidelines and rules:

  • Language: Please follow our Style Guide which can be found here;
  • Format: Each essay is to be submitted on A4 sized paper with single line spacing using Microsoft Word
  • Font: The following fonts are accepted: Merriweather, Arial, Georgia and Garamond;
  • Length: A strict word count of 1,250 words (+/- 10%) applies to all submissions [excluding footnotes];
  • Acknowledgements: Entrants must ensure that full acknowledgement to source material is provided;
  • References: Entrants must reference in accordance with our Style Guide which can be found here;
  • Plagiarism: Detection of any level of plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification from the competition.

Deadline: The deadline for entries was 1st May 2023.

For any questions, please contact Patrick Triglavcanin, Senior Research Assistant