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Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize

Winner of The 2018 Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize, the Royal United Services Institute’s (RUSI) annual competition awarded for original writing on contemporary issues of national and international defence and security, has been announced.

Dating back to 1874, the Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize reflects and reinforces the Institute's status as a uniquely placed platform for free thinking debate on defence and security.

The winner of the Trench-Gascoigne Prize Essay Competition for 2018 is Major Christopher Hitchins for his essay “There Are No Five-Year Plans in the Ant Kingdom”: Can Biology Give Us the Information Edge That Physics Cannot? Major Hitchins is a British Army officer in the Parachute Regiment and instructs on the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) at the United Kingdom Defence Academy.

Second Prizes are awarded to:

  • William James for his essay, Salvaging Grand Strategy. William is Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program & DPhil candidate in International Relations at the University of Oxford (St Anthony’s College).
  • Alexander Gilder for his essay The Harmonisation of United Nations Stabilisation Mandates: The Effect of the Robust Use of Force and Counter-Terrorism. Alexander is a PhD Researcher & Graduate Teaching Fellow, The City Law School - City, University of London.

The prizes were presented by General Sir Nicholas Carter KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen, Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom, following his Annual Lecture at RUSI on Tuesday 11 December 2018.

The judges this year were:

  • Lieutenant General Sir David Capewell KCB OBE, Distinguished Fellow, RUSI, and former Chief of Joint Operations, Ministry of Defence
  • Professor Beatrice Heuser, Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI, and Professor of International Relations (Politics) University of Glasgow
  • Air Vice Marshal Peter Dye OBE, former Director General, Royal Air Force Museum
  • Simon Fovargue, Vice President Defence & Chief Executive Officer Atlas Consortium, DXC Technology.

The Competition is sponsored by DXC Technology.

Further details about the Competition and the 2018 award can be obtained from Michael Codner, the Competition Manager and Senior Research Fellow in Military Sciences at

Details of the 2019 Trench Gascoigne Prize Essay Competition will be announced in June 2019. The judging will take place in October and November 2019 and presentation of the prizes will be in December 2019.

Awards are made on the basis of originality, logical argument, sound analysis, style, clarity and conciseness.

The competition is open to authors of any nationality but must be written in English. and entries are welcome from - but not exclusive to - members of the Armed Forces of nations. One or more prizes within a total of £2,000 will be awarded.