Category Archives: Call for Articles

Announcing the 2021 U.S. Naval Institute-CIMSEC Fiction Contest

By the Editorial Staff of CIMSEC and U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings

The Challenge

Fiction is a powerful means for exploring hypotheticals and envisioning alternatives. CIMSEC and the U.S. Naval Institute are partnering to invite authors to share their visions of the future in the second joint fiction essay contest. View the top 20 stories from last year’s contest on CIMSEC here.

Authors should probe the future of international maritime security and conflict, in this world or another. Explore the future and flesh out concepts for how potential discord may play out, or use alternative history to comment on issues that will affect that future. Authors are invited to submit their stories along these lines and more.

Submission Guidelines

  • Open to all contributors.
  • Essay must be no more than 3,000 words maximum (excludes endnotes/sources).
  • Include word count on title page of essay but do not include author name(s) on title page or within the text.
  • Submit essay as a Microsoft Word document online at www.usni.org/fictionessay by 15 September 2021.
  • Essay must be original and not previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere. 
  • Only one entry per contributor. 

Selection Process

The Naval Institute and CIMSEC staffs will evaluate all entries submitted in the contest and provide the top essays to a select panel of military novelists for judging. All essays will be judged in the blindi.e., the judges will not know the authors of the manuscripts.

Finalists will be judged by August Cole, Peter Singer, Kathleen McGinnis, Ward Carroll, David Weber, and Larry Bond.

First Prize: $500 and a 1-year membership in the Naval Institute and CIMSEC

Second Prize: $300 and a 1-year membership in the Naval Institute and CIMSEC

Third Prize: $200 and a 1-year membership in the Naval Institute and CIMSEC

Publication

The winning essays will be published in Proceedings magazine and on the Naval Institute and CIMSEC websites. Some non-winning essays may also be selected for publication.

We look forward to receiving your submissions and partnering with the U.S. Naval Institute to enhance the conversation around maritime security.

Featured Image: “Sci-fi submarine – Barotrauma fanart,” by Aleksandre Lortkipanidze via Artstation

Call For Articles: USTRANSCOM Wants Your Writing On Strategic Sealift

Submissions Due: June 8, 2021
Week Dates: June 21-25, 2021

Article Length: 1000-3000 words
Submit to: Content@cimsec.org

By Dr. André Kok

United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is a unified, functional combatant command of the Department of Defense (DOD), providing support to the ten other U.S. combatant commands, the military services, defense agencies, and other government organizations. The command conducts globally integrated mobility operations, leads the broader Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise, and provides enabling capabilities in order to project and sustain the Joint Force in support of national objectives.

In contingencies, the command is dependent on sealift to deliver surge forces around the world. With 85 percent of DOD forces based in the continental United States, nearly 90 percent of military equipment is expected to deploy via sealift in a major conflict. USTRANSCOM, along with its sea and land components, Military Sealift Command (MSC) and Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), and in coordination with the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), manages a strategic sealift portfolio of commercial and government-owned ships. These ships are operated by U.S. Merchant Mariners, ensuring preparedness for any scenario to move DOD resources anywhere around the world.

The government-owned portion of the strategic sealift fleet is aging, and over 50 percent of the surge sealift ships are approaching the end of their service life within the next 10 years and must be replaced. DOD plans to recapitalize the CONUS-based surge sealift fleet by retiring seven high-cost, low-reliable ships and purchasing used commercial ships in order to improve readiness to meet the National Defense Strategy. DOD seeks Congressional authority to decouple the purchase of nine foreign-built ships from the accompanying requirement to procure 10 new sealift or auxiliary ships in U.S. shipyards, in order to expeditiously realize readiness improvements.

USTRANSCOM is partnering with CIMSEC to solicit articles on strategic sealift. Potential papers could approach the topic from any angle, such as USTRANSCOM’s use and management of the strategic sealift fleet; the fleet’s multi-service dimensions (Army and Navy, plus joint staff at USTRANSCOM), multi-department relationships and operations (DOD and DOT), multi-sector (government and industry) composition; the anticipated capacity gap as vessels age; and plans and approaches to recapitalization.

Authors are invited to write on these topics and other issues potentially impacting strategic sealift in the future. Send all submissions to Content@cimsec.org.

Editor’s Note: This topic week has since concluded and its submissions may be viewed here.

Dr. André Kok is a public affairs specialist at United States Transportation Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, III, where he’s been for the last two years. His career includes almost 10 years in uniform as an Air Force public affairs officer as well as civil service with the Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Veterans Affairs. His doctoral dissertation at Regent University in Virginia focused on the role of social media in cross cultural adaptation.

Featured Image: U.S. Army vehicles unload from USNS Seay in Kuwait in February 2007 (Photo via U.S. Military Sealift Command)

Call for Articles: Redefining Readiness

Submissions Due: May 10, 2021
Week Dates: May 24-28, 2021
Article Length: 1000-3000 words
Submit to: Content@cimsec.org

By Dmitry Filipoff

In many respects, the U.S. military is torn between preparing for the future versus remaining vigilant in the present. Combatant command demand signals strip ready forces from the services, often leaving them with hardly enough time to reconstitute or exercise for force development (vice force employment). Despite major drawdowns from long-running wars in the Middle East the operations tempo of the services remains high, straining maintenance and personnel, and sending adverse ripple effects throughout organizations. Suffering through these pains has often been justified in the name of persistently engaging with the forward operating environment and being ready to “fight tonight.” Successive Defense Department leaders who serve at the highest levels in the chain of command, who play an important role in adjudicating global force allocation, have managed to do relatively little to change this fundamental calculus. A new strategic era of great power competition has just begun, and the U.S. military services are already paying a hefty price for adhering to a logic designed for yesterday’s threat environment.

In a recent op-ed entitled “Redefine Readiness or Lose,” Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Charles Q. Brown and Commandant of the Marine Corps General David H. Berger warned against this fundamental calculus and described how it is endangering the ability of the services to effectively prepare for great power competition.

They decried orienting readiness toward the “fight tonight” paradigm, which they described as a “handcuff” and “myopic” with “harsh tradeoffs.” This paradigm strongly reinforces incentives to continue fielding legacy platforms and optimizing them for immediate use, instead of the deeper and more evolutionary modernization that can provide a meaningful edge in great power competition. They argue that freeing the services of the “tyranny” of the “fight tonight” perspective will also allow for greater flexibility in developing new strategies. In the eyes of Generals Brown and Berger, “Over past decades, readiness has become synonymous with ‘availability,’” and that they believe “our understanding of both operational and structural readiness ought to place far more weight on factors related to service modernization.” At the core of the problem is how the definition of true readiness has become muddled and distorted.

CIMSEC invites contributors to join the debate on redefining readiness. Important questions include: Ready for what? Ready for when? And what needs to be ready? Does great power competition require a redefinition of readiness? How could the relationship between force development, force generation, and force employment be recalibrated to emphasize specific readiness priorities? What are the risks inherent to such tradeoffs? Does overturning the “fight tonight” model require a major strategic reappraisal?

Contributors can answer these questions and more as the debate on redefining readiness continues. Send all submissions to Content@cimsec.org.

Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content. Contact him at Content@cimsec.org.

Featured Image: PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 19, 2021) Sailors perform preflight checks on an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Feb. 19, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alexander B. Williams)

Call for Articles: The Future of Naval Intelligence

By Dmitry Filipoff

Submissions Due: March 15, 2021
Week Dates: March 29-April 2, 2021
Article Length: 1000-3000 words
Submit to: Content@cimsec.org

CIMSEC is running its first-ever topic week on naval intelligence. The need for timely and insightful naval intelligence in a peer competitor world has never been greater. Naval intelligence will be at the center of current and future military concepts, plans, operations, acquisitions – and more. CIMSEC is looking for papers that tackle the future challenges of naval intelligence. 

Topics of interest include but are not limited to: How can naval intelligence better train its professionals? How can naval intelligence better support operational warfighting and high-end force development? How can naval intelligence leverage machine learning and AI tools? What lessons from history might offer insights to intelligence professionals today? How can naval intelligence improve assessments and forecasts? What does naval intelligence need to do to improve integration and proficiency with allies and partners? How do you best lead intelligence professionals? And in a Navy focused on information warfare, is intelligence in the traditional sense still required – or possible?

Contributors are encouraged to answer these questions and more as they seek to understand the future of naval intelligence and how best to support naval leadership and operators.

Send all submissions to Content@cimsec.org.

Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content. Contact him at Content@cimsec.org.

Featured Image: Fire Controlman 2nd Class Ralph Salas observes radar signatures at a fire control station in the combat information center aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Edward Guttierrez)