General Donn A. Starry Writing Competition

The General Donn A. Starry writing competition will evaluate and recognize outstanding writers from across the Army who demonstrate clarity and vision about the future of the mounted force.

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“If you had some idea as to where our Army is headed and the requirements associated with that direction, you might be able to get in front of the power curve and help us get there.”

The 2017 Starry Writing Competition prompt and application/submission deadlines will be released later this Summer.

General Donn A. Starry Biography

General Donn Albert Starry (May 31, 1925 – August 26, 2011) was a United States Army General who served as Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (CG TRADOC) from 1977 to 1981; and as Commander in Chief, U.S. Readiness Command (USCINCRED) from 1981 to 1983.

Born in 1925, Starry graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1948 as a second lieutenant of Armor, after having enlisted as a private in 1943. His early career included staff and command positions in the United States, Europe, and Korea. During this same period, he attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the Army War College. In 1969, he commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Vietnam War and led its attack into Cambodia in May 1970. On May 5, 1970, Starry was wounded by a North Vietnamese grenade that also wounded future Army General Frederick Franks, Jr.

In 1973, he became commanding general, U.S. Army Armor Center and School, and then commander, V Corps (1976–1977), in the Federal Republic of Germany. Later, as commander of TRADOC, Starry formulated AirLand Battle doctrine, which prepared the Army for warfighting into the twenty-first century. Starry concluded his career as Commander, U.S. Readiness Command (1981–1983), retiring from the Army in 1983.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with "V" device, the Soldier's Medal, the Purple Heart, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters. He is also the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Starry earned a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and several honorary doctoral degrees. He was also a member of the Defense Science Board for two terms.

He was married to the former Leatrice (Letty) Gibbs of Kansas City, Kansas. They have four children and seven grandchildren. On April 10, 2010, he celebrated his new marriage to a long-time friend, Karen (Cookie) Deitrick.

Starry Writing Competition Requirements

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The US Army Armor School and Cavalry & Armor Association (CAA) are currently developing the 2017 General Donn A. Starry writing completion details. The competition will evaluate and recognize outstanding writers from across the Army who demonstrate clarity and vision about the future of the mounted force.

Writers will be an Active Duty/National Guard/Reserve Soldier, Department of the Army Civilian, Retired/Veteran. The Soldier or Civilian does not have to be in the Armor branch. He or she will receive a $1000 check from the CAA, a 1911 commemorative Pistol, and publication in the ARMOR magazine.

For additional information and requirements, see

Warfighting Challenges

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  1. How to develop and sustain a high degree of situational understanding while operating in complex environments against determined, adaptive enemy organizations.
  2. How to conduct effective air-ground combined arms reconnaissance to rapidly develop the situation in close contact with the enemy and civilian populations.
  3. How to conduct maneuver and integrate all arms and joint capabilities to seize and retain the initiative and defeat capable, determined enemy organizations in all types of terrain including dense urban areas (includes offense and defense).
  4. How to conduct security operations across wide areas to secure the force, critical infrastructure, or critical activities (e.g. development of indigenous security forces or establishment of legitimate governance/rule of law).
  5. How to retain freedom of movement and action at the end of extended and contested lines of operation during high tempo, decentralized operations.
  6. How to conduct security force assistance (Foreign Internal Defense) and conduct effective multinational operations (including combat advisory) across the range of military operations.
  7. How to exert influence over a broad range of actors and organizations to shape conditions or consolidate gains consistent with the mission.
  8. How to establish and maintain effective communications and defeat enemy attempts to interrupt critical satellite, terrestrial, and CYBER capabilities.
  9. How to protect the force from Remote Anti-Armor Mines RAAMs); Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Environment (CBRNE); unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); and other emerging long range threats.
  10. How to defeat enemy anti access capabilities, conduct forcible entry and rapidly transition to offensive operations to envelop or turn enemy out of defensive positions.
  11. How to develop resilient and adaptive Soldiers and units to operate effectively in environments of complexity and persistent danger.

Evaluation Criteria

Since evaluation is unavoidably a subjective process, the editorial board will use the questions below to help evaluate nominations more objectively.

Article title:                                                    Author:                             

Evaluation criteria Weight Points awarded or subtracted
Research 90 total  
Does the article offer well thought out and well researched opinions about its subject, yielding significant insight? 70  
Is research backed up by careful endnotes? 20  
Writing standards 150 total  
Is the writing understandable in a single rapid reading and generally free of errors in grammar, mechanics and usage? (See following table for these types of errors.) 50  
Does the article open with a direct, powerful sentence (the bottom-line-up-front, or BLUF) that emphasizes its main point and tells readers what they should do, understand or take away it? If the BLUF isn’t the first sentence, is it within the first or second paragraph? 50  
Does the article move logically from the BLUF through well- developed, necessary background information, details or plans? 30  
Is the article written in an accessible style, using plain English, simple language and a natural, conversational tone? Does it give the impression that it has been written to impress rather than to inform and persuade? 20 if to writing standards;
-20 if gives impression of written to impress
Relevancy to intended audience 160 total  
Does the article contribute anything new to the topic? 70  
Does the article offer plausible solutions to or recommendations about a problem or issue? 50  
Does the article contain the correct level of detail for its intended audience – in other words, does the article contain the aspects of its subject the audience needs to know without extraneous details? 20  
If the article includes history, do the issues associated with the historical events described and evaluated have any direct relevance to today’s leaders? 10 if relevant;
-10 if not relevant
If the article deals with personal experiences, do the issues associated with the events described and evaluated have any direct relevance to today’s leaders? 10 if relevant;
-10 if not relevant
Credibility 80 total  
Does the author of the article know what he is talking about? 50  
Does the article fairly represent the background facts and provide a credible examination of the issue? 30  
Jargon and acronyms 20 total  
Does the article avoid jargon and bureaucratic language? 10  
Are unfamiliar terms defined within the body of the article or in an endnote? 10  
Total points 500