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Welcome To The 2009 AFCEA Intelligence Essay Contest!

Annually, AFCEA Intelligence provides those interested in the Intelligence profession an opportunity to express themselves on a topic of importance to the Intelligence Community and in support of U.S. national security.  Consequently, we are soliciting well developed, publication-quality essays which address the following topic:


Collecting Intelligence: Balancing Safety, Security, and Privacy

Problem Statement: As the internal threat from terrorism has increased, the U.S. government has employed new and different methods to collect intelligence to forestall future attacks on U.S. soil. Discuss the implications of these actions on Constitutional guarantees of privacy for U.S. citizens versus the government’s imperative to provide safety and security.  Include recommendations as to how this balance can be better maintained.


Essayists should (1) take a position on the above problem statement, (2) develop that position logically and (3) make recommendations for government action.  You are encouraged to use examples, evidence, and footnotes as appropriate in defending your position and your recommendations.


First Place:     $2,000 and a two-year membership in AFCEA
Second Place:  $1,000 and a two-year membership in AFCEA
Third Place:    $500 and a two-year membership in AFCEA

Plus potential publication in AFCEA’s SIGNAL Magazine, the SIGNALScape Blog, the AFCEA Intelligence website, and/or the NIP Quarterly.


If an essay is co-authored, each author will receive one-half the monetary prize. 


Essay Contest Guidelines

Entries not fully complying with the following contest guidelines will not be considered.

Eligibility: Any military or civilian author
Deadline:  11:59pm EST, October 31, 2009

3,000 words maximum; 1,500 words minimum (excluding footnotes and bibliography)

Submissions must be unclassified original analytical and/or interpretive work not currently submitted or previously published elsewhere.


Submission for the contest constitutes the author’s permission to publish. It is the responsibility of the author to meet any requirement for pre-publication security review prior to submission.


Submissions will be evaluated based on originality, strength of argument and    recommendations, adherence to the norms of spelling, grammar, and syntax, and clarity. 


Entries must be submitted by email to Email submissions must include “AFCEA Intelligence Essay Contest” as the subject with the submission itself as an attachment in Word (.doc). Include the following information in the body of the email:

  • The title of the essay.
  • The word count of the essay (text within graphic elements, footnotes, and headers or footers may be excluded). 
  • Your names, address, telephone number, and email address.
  • A biography of 50 words or less.

To ensure anonymity of the author during judging, the submission (in Word) should include only its title. No other identifying information may be included.  Each page of the submission beyond the first should show the title as a header.  The attachment’s file name should reflect the essay’s title to the extent practical.


You are encouraged to submit electronic photographic and/or graphic elements to support your essay. Images must be no less than 300 dpi. Illustrations submitted with essays by e-mail should be as a separate attachment or attachments, and must not be imbedded within the text of the essay.


A panel of intelligence professionals will judge all entries and make the final selections. Entries will be judged without knowing the authors’ identities.  


Winners will be notified in writing not later than January 15, 2010. 


AFCEA Intelligence: 703-631-6219 

Good luck!

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