NCO Writing Excellence Program

NCO Writing Excellence Program

Army Press NCO Writing Excellence Award Program Guidelines

NCO Writing Excellence Award Program Guidelines

The Winners are:

October 2016
Staff Sgt. Brian C. Darling
“Toward a Leaner, More Agile Force: The Army in a Time of Fiscal Austerity”

July 2016
Staff Sgt. Adam E. Wahl
“Educational Shifts within the United States Army: Changing the Perception of Education at the Unit Level”

May 2016
Master Sgt. Jorge A. Rivera and Sgt. 1st Class Edrena R. Roberts
“Achieving Leader Development through Strategic Broadening Seminars: The Red Team NCO Education Experience”

Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Rance
“Commander, May I Engage?”

Top Tier Finalists – Education Theme July 2016

The Award is structured to recognize excellence in writing from the Army’s noncommissioned officer corps on topics pertinent to the doctrinal, operational, professional, and institutional concerns of the Army. NCOs are encouraged to write about their experiences, concerns, ideas and recommendations in an environment that rewards original thinking and the willingness to dedicate intellectual energy to the production of quality articles. These works will contribute to the professional and academic growth of the noncommissioned officer corps.


  • July 1, 2016

    How important is a college education to Soldiers in the enlisted ranks? Is a college education more important than military education? Why? How?
  • Oct. 1, 2016

    How will a downsizing Army affect Soldiers’ ability to accomplish the mission? What kind of challenges will this bring about?
  • Jan. 1, 2017

    Compare and contrast past and present Army marketing strategies. Some failed, some succeeded. Why? How?
  • April 1, 2017

    Are junior soldiers given responsibilities and leadership opportunities before becoming NCOs? Opportunities and responsibilities where they can learn hands on, succeed or fail, before they get the coveted promotion to NCO?

Winners will receive

  • A framed certificate of achievement, signed by the Army University Provost
  • The Army Writing Excellence Program Coin
  • Recognition in the NCO Journal Video News cast
  • Publication in NCO Journal or Army Press Online

Information for Contestants

Eligibility: The contest is open to all noncommissioned officers across the active duty Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard (Corporal to Command Sergeant Major).

Essay Requirements:

      1. Theme: The essay must address the current theme. The article should reflect original research and thought.
      2. Format: The essay must be appropriately formatted. Improperly formatted submissions will be directly returned to sender. Use this example as a guide.
      3. Length: The essay must be 1,500 to 3,000 words. It must also be typed, double spaced, 12 pt, Courier New font.

Note: This does not include footnotes/endnotes/sources.

    1. Research Citation: If other sources are used, they should be documented in endnotes. Do not use the automatic endnote program in the submitted manuscript. Manually format the endnote numbers within the text in superscript, and then list the endnotes at the end of the manuscript.
    2. Prior Publication: All previously published essays are ineligible. By submitting, you declare that your essay has not been previously published (online or in print) or is being considered for publication elsewhere.

Criteria for Award

The following criteria will be used by the Army Press Writing Excellence Program Review Committee to evaluate submissions.

Writing Quality (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.)

    1. Is the essay written in an accessible style, or does it give the impression that it has been written to impress rather inform and persuade?
    2. Does the essay avoid excessive acronyms or jargon?
    3. Does the essay show evidence of significant research?
    4. Is the author’s research backed up by careful endnotes?

Relevance to the Army NCO Corps

    1. Does the essay contribute anything new to the body of professional knowledge on the selected topic?
    2. Does the essay offer solutions to or recommendations about the problem or issue?
    3. Does the essay represent the background facts and provide a credible examination of the issue?
    4. Is the essay organized? Does it move logically from a clear thesis through a well- developed argument using supporting evidence to yield persuasive conclusions?

How to Submit

    1. Deadline: The first day of each FY quarter (1 Oct, 1 Jan, 1 Apr, 1 Jul).
    2. Email essays (as a Microsoft Word attachment) to:
    3. Include word count on title page of the essay but do not include your name within the essay.
    4. A completed cover letter must accompany all submissions. (

Additional Rules Regarding Submissions

    1. There is no limit to the number of articles you may submit each quarter.
    2. Evaluation comments will only be shared with the review committee.
    3. The Army Press considers all articles potential products for Army Press Online or NCO Journal and reserves the right to publish through these venues or other Center of Excellence Publications
    4. Articles received after the submission deadline will automatically be entered in the next quarterly competition.

The Army Press will screen submissions to confirm the author and submission meet the Submission Requirements

Notification and Presentation of Awards

  • The Army Press will forward certificates of achievement and coins to the awardees’ command for formal presentation.
  • Selected articles will be published in Army Press Online or the NCO Journal.

Questions: Direct questions to or call (913) 684-2091.