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NEWPORT, R.I. – Cmdr. James Kraska, JAGC, USN, and faculty member of the International Law Department and appointed by the Provost as the Howard S. Levie Chair in Operational Law at the Naval War College (NWC), was selected for the 2010 Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement.
The award is presented annually by the Navy League of the United States. Kraska is also a Senior Associate in the Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups at NWC.
Kraska was recognized for scholarly writing involving issues of maritime piracy, freedom of navigation and Arctic security. His literary submissions about the law of the sea and counter-proliferation—which links maritime capabilities of the nation to emerging problems of national security at a time when much of the media focus is on land warfare—were also highly acknowledged.
“It’s an unexpected and great honor to be selected for this award,” said Kraska, who mentioned that NWC Museum Director John Hattendorf had received the prestigious award last year. “One of my career goals is to aspire to match the achievements of my esteemed colleague.”
NEWPORT, R.I. (November 2010) Cmdr. James Kraska joined the Naval War College as a military faculty member of the International Law Department  in 2008. He was appointed as the Howard S. Levie Chair of Operational Law in 2009. (Photo by David Reese)The award citation also noted Kraska’s widely acclaimed article published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Orbis, titled “How the U.S. Lost the Naval War of 2015.” Twenty two thousand people downloaded the article from the FPRI website and the website recorded it as the top download for one week in December 2009.
“The piece was actually a wake-up call for making upward adjustments in the declining U.S. naval force structure, getting our country more serious about conducting freedom of navigation operations to dissuade adversaries from challenging access to key littoral waters and resetting the U.S. approach to law of the sea to better serve our strategic interests,” Kraska said.
The award also stated that Kraska “continues to push ahead to spread ideas that enhance the stature and future prospects of our naval forces and to make our maritime nation and its friends and allies more secure.”
NWC President Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup submitted the nomination and acknowledged Kraska’s ongoing and significant contributions at the Naval War College.
“He has become a leading authority on the intersection of sea power and international law, and his vast writings on maritime piracy in some of the best journals and magazines make him one of the country’s most sought-after experts on the subject,” Wisecup said.
Kraska’s writings have appeared in numerous journals and magazines such as “The American Interest,” “Stanford Journal of International Law” and “Brown Journal of World Affairs.” His book, “Maritime Power and the Law of the Sea” is forthcoming from Oxford University Press, and he edited, “Arctic Security in an Age of Climate Change,” from Cambridge University Press.
He earned a doctor of juridical science (S.J.D) and a master of international law (L.L.M.) from the University of Virginia and a doctor of jurisprudence (J.D.) from Indiana University, Bloomington. Kraska also earned a master of arts (M.A.) in defense and foreign policy from Clarement Colleges and a diploma from the College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College.
The Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement is named for the famous American naval historian and theorist, Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, United States Navy who, through his writing, provided vital stimulus and guidance to those who share in the defense of the nation. Presented since 1957, "this award for literary achievement is awarded to a U.S. Navy officer, U.S. Marine Corps officer, enlisted service member, or civilian who has made a notable literary contribution that has advanced the knowledge of the importance of sea power in the United States.”

By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs