The Army Cyber Institute, in cooperation with the Modern War Institute and the Competition in Cyberspace Project, is pleased to announce an essay contest to generate new ideas and expand the dialogue within the military cyber community.


Essays must answer the following prompt: What is the greatest policy challenge affecting US military cyber operations over the next five years? And what should we do about it?

This topic is broad. We encourage authors to clearly articulate a specific idea or concept in their responses.

Why This Topic? Why Now?

As noted in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission Report, our adversaries have used cyberspace to subvert American power, American security, and the American way of life for more than twenty years. America’s cyber forces have responded to this threat, but cyber leaders have long cited policy and legal constraints as a significant hindrance to their mission. While many changes and reforms have been made in response to these concerns, policy challenges still loom large. Further, new policy challenges will certainly emerge as technology develops and adversary cyber tactics change. The purpose of this essay contest is to therefore identify the greatest policy challenges that will face American cyber forces over the next five years.


  • Essays will be accepted from any person from any field, and submissions from non-US participants are welcomed.
  • Up to two people may coauthor a single essay entry.
  • Participants may submit only one entry to the competition.
  • Essays must be original, unpublished, and not subject to publication elsewhere.

Submission Guidelines

  • Essays should be less than 2,500 words in length.
  • Use the standard submission guidelines for the Modern War Institute.
  • Email your entry to with “Cyber Policy Challenge Essay Contest” in the subject line. Once submitted, no edits, corrections, or changes are allowed.
  • In your email submission, please include author bio(s) of two to three sentences at most.
  • Submission deadline: essays will be accepted until 11:59 PM EDT on April 1, 2022.

Selection Process

Submissions will be reviewed and evaluated by a team from the Army Cyber Institute and the Modern War Institute. Submissions will be assessed based on how well and creatively they address the topic of the contest and provoke further thought and conversation, as well as their suitability for publication by the Modern War Institute (e.g., style, sources, accessibility, etc.). See evaluation questions below:

  • Does the essay clearly define a problem and present a solution?
  • Does the essay show thoughtful analysis?
  • Does the essay inject new, provocative thinking or address areas where there needs to be more discussion?
  • Does the essay demonstrate an understanding of current and future technological capabilities?
  • Does the essay take lessons from history and apply them to today’s challenges?
  • Does the essay propose a solution that has the potential to significantly improve US cyber operations?
  • Does the essay demonstrate knowledge of relevant existing writing on cyber operations and challenges?
  • Is the essay logically organized, well written, and persuasive?

The directors of Army Cyber Institute and Modern War Institute will make the final judgment for the contest.

Winning Submissions

The top three essays will be announced publicly and will be published by the Modern War Institute. Essay winners may also be afforded an opportunity to expand on their essay for publication in the Army Cyber Institute’s Cyber Defense Review.  Revisions may be required before publication before publication by the Modern War Institute.

Image credit: Bill Roche, US Army Cyber Command