IWI and OIWC Essay Contest

The Joint Staff of J7 office of irregular Warfare and Competition (OIWC) and the Irregular Warefare Initiative (IWI) have announced an essay contest. The top three essays in each category will be announced publicly. The top essay in each category will be published by the Irregular Warfare Initiative (subject to editorial review). The author of the winning submission for each category will have the opportunity to present their ideas to Joint Staff J7 senior leaders virtually and/or potentially be featured on the Irregular Warfare Podcast. IWI may also elect to publish other compelling submissions in line with our mission to support the community of irregular warfare professionals and to provide a forum to cultivate the incorporation of irregular warfare competencies in the context of modern national security strategy. The contest is open to all contributed regardless of nationality, however, there will be two categories of judging: any undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited university; all other participants.

The deadline to submit is May 2, 2022, at 11:59 pm PDT (May 3, 2022, at 2:59 am EST).


Irregular warfare (IW) is a struggle among state and non-state actors to influence populations and affect legitimacy. IW favors indirect and asymmetric approaches, though it may employ the full range of military and other capabilities, in order to erode an adversary’s power, influence, and will.

Essay Prompt: How can irregular warfare activities help the United States address challenges presented by Russia and China in the context of strategic competition?

This topic is intentionally broad. We encourage authors to articulate a specific approach and provide realistic recommendations in their responses. Authors may choose to reference the Summary of the Irregular Warfare Annex to the National Defense Strategy when formulating their arguments.


Email entries as an attachment to essaycontest@irregularwarfare.org. Name the attachment using the following convention (OIWC_Last name_First name_CategoryA or B example: OIWC_Smith_Mary_CategoryB).

For more information and exact submission specifications, click here.

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