Two Popular Contests Sponsored by the US Naval Institute

US Naval Institute pic
US Naval Institute

Retired US Navy Captain David Schnell spent 27 years in the service, where he commanded several ships. A decorated veteran, Captain David Schnell is a member of the US Naval Institute.

The US Naval Institute’s mission is to advance the professional and scientific understanding of sea power by providing an independent forum for readers, writers, and thinkers. Since its establishment, one of the main ways the Institute fulfills its mission is by organizing essay contests. To date, the Institute has sponsored 25 contests. Two in 2018 are the NPS Foundation/US Naval Institute Annual Contest and the CNO Naval History Essay Contest.

The NPS contest is for students and staff of the US Naval Postgraduate School. This contest challenges students and staff to write a 3,000-word essay that is either directly related to each student’s thesis or addresses an issue relevant to the military profession. The award carries a cash prize of $5,000.

The CNO contest challenges professional and upcoming historians to write a 3,500-word essay covering a naval history topic that is relevant in today’s environment. The contest carries a first prize of $5,000, a second prize of $2,500, and third prize of $1,500.


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A U.S. Navy veteran with more than 26 years of experience as an officer in increasingly challenging roles, including the command of two naval warships, David Schnell has a vast background in executive leadership, management, and team building. David Schnell’s military service offered him the chance to develop a wide range of skills in business management, crisis management, financial planning, and problem solving. He served in multiple deployments to the Arabian Gulf, provided combat support to ongoing military operations in the Middle East, and led thousands of sailors from a variety of different professional backgrounds. During his naval career, David Schnell served as Commanding Officer on board the USS Peleliu, an amphibious aircraft carrier and flagship for an expeditionary strike group, and the USS Ford, a guided missile frigate in support of an aircraft carrier strike group. During both commands, he led a total of 1,250 sailors and oversaw the security of 1,800 Marines in combat and support operations. David Schnell also held several staff positions in Washington, DC, including Staff Officer to the Chief of Naval Operations Deep Blue Directorate, where he offered technical guidance and expertise on emerging warfare concepts, and Branch Chief to the Joint Staff in the War on Terrorism Directorate, where he worked on anti-proliferation issues concerning weapons of mass destruction as well as biological and chemical agents. Schnell retired honorably from the Navy as a Captain and currently works in San Diego as Executive Director of Christ Kitchen, an organization that provides thousands of meals to people who are homeless and families in need. David Schnell also serves on the board of Walden Family Services and is a counselor with Royal Family Kids Camp, two organizations that offer assistance, support, and developmental activities to foster children.

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