NEWPORT, R.I. - The U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) recognized a U.S. Naval War College (NWC) professor and student as its 135th
annual General Prize Essay Contest Winners on Oct. 19, for articles published in USNI's Proceedings Magazine over the previous year.
Dr. Milan Vego
, Joint Military Operations professor, received first place for three scholarly articles: “Technological Superiority is NOT a Panacea
,” which advocates for other factors besides technology to advance naval power; “China’s Naval Challenge
,” which examines lapses in Chinese military power; and “AirSea Battle Must Not Work Alone
,” which evaluates cooperative tactical movements between the Navy and Air Force.
Cmdr. In Ha, College of Naval Warfare student, received third place for his article, “Away All…Hovercraft!
” which challenges the use of hovercraft in modern warfare.
The General Prize Essay Contest is one of the oldest continually operated writing contests in the nation and was first implemented in 1879 to promote writing aptitude among naval officers. Vego and Ha were notified by Institute officials of USNI’s decision in early October and were honored in a ceremony Oct. 19 in Annapolis, Md.
To choose the award recipient, editors of Proceedings judge the quality of published articles and select the best that appeared in the magazine’s past issues from October of the previous year through September of the current year. Recipients will be formally recognized in the upcoming issue of the magazine in November, and also receive a monetary prize.
NWC’s recipients humbly accepted the prestige that comes with being selected as contest winners.
“While I sometimes thought that it would be nice to get an award, my primary focus has always been to submit solidly researched and well-argued articles on what I consider to be important issues of the day,” Vego said in his acceptance speech
, and commended USNI for its mission.
“We need more, not less, discourse on the state and the future direction of the U.S. Navy and other maritime services. Only through open, frank, vigorous, and continuous debate it is possible for an organization or institution to accomplish its stated mission; such a dialog is necessary because it is the only proven way to provide a self-corrective mechanism.”
Vego is an internationally recognized scholar in operational warfare, having written seven books and more than 300 articles in the field.
Cmdr. Ha felt “ecstatic” at receiving USNI’s award, particularly because his article was the first time he has been published in print.
“To hit it out of the ballpark on the very first try is remarkable to me,” Ha said. “Based on the criteria I feel immensely proud, and based on past awardees like Adm. James Stavridis, or Milan Vego who won first place this year, I feel very humbled.”
Ha credited his professional and academic background for his publication.
“I believe my success is both testament to my Naval War College resident academic experiences, my life-long interest in military history, national security matters, and professional training,” Ha said.
Ha’s article on hovercraft also won an award in NWC’s Prize Essay Competition for the Naval War College Foundation Award category, which recognizes student work that offers significant contribution to maritime strategy or operational warfare.