Military Review


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The 2022 General William E. DePuy
Special Topics Writing Competition


The writing theme for 2022 is "Insights from Two Decades in Afghanistan”

The intent of this year’s DePuy competition is to highlight from a “boots on the ground” perspective what specifically the U.S. Army should learn from its twenty-year experience in Afghanistan.
Possible topics might include the following: What faulty assumptions did leaders at all levels make that should be avoided in the future? What lessons should future senior military leaders learn from Afghanistan? How did the perception of success affect operational planning and assessments of progress? To what degree was Afghanistan a failure of mission-command or counterinsurgency doctrine? Any other salient topics that might be gleaned from an individual’s experience and point of view.

Cautionary note: Over the course of the next several years, the topic of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan will likely be intensely examined, debated, and heatedly argued; primarily at the strategic level and among a host of entities both in and out of the military. In contrast, while Military Review (MR) will submit for consideration all submissions received, the DePuy contest has historically been a venue that places a premium on careful, disinterested, and scholarly work in the practical pursuit of applicable lessons learned. MR has selected the 2022 topic specifically to take advantage of the wealth of relatively recent experience still resident in the active-duty or just-retired force for the purposes of practical learning. Consequently, the judges will be advised that preference will be given to articles where authors primarily discuss issues that outline lessons learned salient to the operational and tactical levels of conflict. Authors are advised to avoid attempting to use the contest as a forum for partisan/political-oriented assignment of credit and liability for the fate of the Afghanistan Campaign.


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How do I enter?

  • Submit an unclassified, original research paper examining any aspect—broad or specific—of this theme. Papers should be approx. 3,000 words in length, not counting endnotes.
  • Previously published papers, or papers pending consideration elsewhere for publication, are ineligible.
  • Papers submitted to other competitions still pending announced decisions are also ineligible. (As an exception to this rule, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College students submitting papers to the General Douglas MacArthur Military Leadership Writing Competition may submit the same paper to the DePuy Competition. Thus, it is possible to recognize a single paper for both competitions).
  • Contestants are expected to conduct in-depth research to support their papers to include consulting current doctrine, proponent organizations, and subject matter experts. However, unpublished original research based on primary as opposed to secondary source material is preferred.

What do winning writers receive?

First Place Second Place Third Place
Award of $1,000 Award of $750 Award of $500
Certificate of recognition Certificate of recognition Certificate of recognition
Publication as a featured essay in Military Review, the professional journal of the United States Army. Special consideration for publication in Military Review. Special consideration for publication in Military Review.
Not all prizes will necessarily be awarded; only superior quality products will warrant award.

How do I submit a paper?

  • Complete an enrollment form (see enclosure 2) and submit it together with the proposed manuscript via email or in hard copy with a CD to Military Review by Monday, 18 July 2022.
    Mail: Military Review, 290 Stimson, Unit 2, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027
  • The essay will use endnote citations and not bibliographic references. Essays will not use the automatic endnote citation feature of software. Instead, endnotes will be hand typed in numerical order as referenced in the essay and listed at the end of the submitted document.
  • All entries should be submitted using the sample format found at the following link: /Portals/7/DePuy/docs/DePuy Example.docx.

How will the papers be evaluated and judged?

Articles will be comparatively judged by a panel of senior Army leaders on how well authors have clearly identified issues requiring solutions relevant to the Army in general and/or to a significant portion of the Army; how effectively detailed and feasible solutions to the problems identified are presented; and, the level of expository skill the author demonstrates in developing a well-organized article using professional standards of grammar, usage, critical thinking, original insights, and evidence of thorough research in the sources provided. See enclosure 1 for the general criteria used in evaluating papers.


If you have questions contact:

Managing editor of Military Review, at (913) 684-9339 or DSN 552-9339; or via email