Simons Center announces winners of public writing competition

The Col. Arthur D. Simons Center for the Study of Interagency Cooperation announces the winners of its Interagency Writing Competition for 2012. The competition was open to the public and ran from September 2011 through March 2012. The top three papers that provided insight and fresh thinking in advancing the knowledge, understanding, and practice of interagency coordination, cooperation, and collaboration at the tactical or operational level of effort were:

First Place: The Genie in the Bottle: Opportunist and Antagonistic Responses to Whole of Government Approaches, by Erik A. Claessen, a Belgian Army officer who works in the Strategy Department of the Belgian Joint Staff in Brussels. Claessen’s entry earned him $2,000, an engraved plaque and certificate.

Second Place: Embassy in the Lead: Lessons on Interagency Unity of Effort for Today’s U.S. Mission to Iraq from the 1947–1949 U.S. Mission to Greece, by Evans A. Hanson, a U.S. Army officer currently enrolled in the School for Advanced Military Studies program at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Hanson’s entry earned him a $1,000 cash award and certificate.

Third Place: Rethinking the Interagency Role in Preventing Conflict in Dealing with Failing or Failed States, by Rumu Sarkar, a senior legal advisor to Millennium Partners, an international development consulting group based in Charlottesville, Va. Sarker’s entry earned her a $500 cash award and a certificate.

The Simons Center has published each of these winners in its InterAgency Papers series.  They are also available in a special issue IAP which contains all three papers– download the IAP Special Issue here.

This first-ever public writing competition for the Simons Center garnered interest and entries from around the world—from the U.S., Europe and Canada, from San Diego to Switzerland. Authors were from a variety of backgrounds including military officers, academicians, government leaders and non-governmental organization leaders. Even a U.S. Navy chaplain weighed in with an entry.

Each entry for the competition was required to focus on one of two special topics:

  • The interagency role in preventing conflict when dealing with failing or failed states; or
  • The validity of the “whole-of-government” approach in dealing with the full range of homeland and national security threats.

A panel of Simons Center judges evaluated each entry on originality, substance of argument, style and contribution to advancing the understanding and practice of interagency cooperation at the operational and tactical levels of effort.

For more information about the writing competition, contact the Simons Center at or call 913-682-7244. The Simons Center is a major program of the CGSC Foundation, Inc. Information about the Simons Center’s mission, organization, and publications is available at

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