Doctrine essay contest winners announced

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Evan Lichtenhan
  • Air University Public Affairs

With 29 essays submitted, the Inspiring Doctrinal Innovation (IDI) judges chose the three-winning submissions at Maxwell AFB, June 13, 2024.

The LeMay Center’s Doctrine Development Directorate, in partnership with Air University’s Innovation Accelerator (AUiX) hosts the Inspiring Doctrinal Innovation Essay Contest to encourage Airmen of all ranks and AFSC’s to read, internalize, analyze, and debate Air Force operational doctrine in professional writing and discourse. The challenge for this spring’s essay contest was to write an essay on how artificial intelligence will necessitate changes to US Air Force Doctrine.

“The essays are judged in a few rounds,” said J. Todd Self, from the LeMay Center Air Force Doctrine Development Outreach team. “The essays are reviewed by a panel of judges around Air University who have some expertise in the topic area for the essay or are just doctrine subject matter experts. The top five papers based on the judges scores are sent to the leadership and additional doctrine subject matter experts around the Doctrine Development Directorate to judge, using the same criteria,” Self said. “The top three are the winners based on that final round.”

After waiting weeks for their results, we congratulate the top three finalists:
First Place: 1st Lt. Ian Palmer, 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, with his essay titled “Accelerating Decision-Making Through Human-Machine Teaming.”

Second Place: Tech. Sgt. Matthew Calhoun, 566th Intelligence Squadron, Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado, with his essay titled “Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the United States Air Force.”

Third Place: Maj. Matthew White, Air Force Lifecycle Management Center Armament Directorate at Eglin AFB, Florida, with his essay titled “Effects of AI-Enhanced Decision-Making on Air Force Doctrine.”

The first-place winner will receive a $1,000 prize from AUiX. The top three writers will also be coined by Maj. Gen. Parker Wright, the commander of the LeMay Center and deputy commander of Air University.

The next IDI Essay Contest will kick off on September 16, 2024. For more information on the IDI Essay Contest, go to

To read the top three essays, visit the Inspiring Doctrinal Innovation essay contest website at