Sea Power Editorial Guidelines for Prospective Authors
Sea Power is the official monthly magazine of the Navy League of the United States-a unique naval/military-oriented association dedicated to the education of the American people about the importance of Sea Power, both naval and commercial, to U.S. national defense and to the nation's economic well-being. Sea Power magazine focuses on articles that contribute to the education of its readers in the fields of national defense, foreign policy, naval and maritime affairs, and oceanography.
The magazine provides a wealth of in-depth, authoritative articles on matters concerning the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine as well as overall national defense and foreign policy issues. Monthly departments also highlight newsworthy developments related to the sea services, the U.S. and allied defense-industrial base, and international naval affairs. Geopolitical and economic articles relating to defense and maritime affairs also are welcome.
Articles submitted to Sea Power should address present and future programs, policies, and/or problem areas of general national or international importance. Articles that are primarily theoretical are seldom used, nor are humorous pieces, commentaries, poetry, or fiction. Authors should strive to inform readers about the subject assigned and should approach the subject from an objective, third-person viewpoint. Clear, precise, and grammatically correct writing is a must.
Story ideas should be submitted to Sea Power in the form of a brief (one-page) outline, which should include suggested topic, recommended development of theme, and statement of timeliness and applicability to Sea Power editorial goals as stated above. If interested, the editor will contact the author, at which time article length, deadline, and payment will be discussed. Authors should observe the following editorial guidelines:
- Except when using direct quotes, write in the third person throughout-do not refer, for example, to "our country," but use "the United States."
- Do not editorialize, advocate, or give personal opinions-commentary is reserved for the Navy League President's Message. Also, avoid the use of rhetorical questions.
- Use facts, figures, statistics, authoritative quotes, and other supporting data to document the article; simple assertions by the author that something is so are not acceptable-statements that might reasonably be challenged must be substantiated. Articles must be objective, balanced, and factually correct. Authors are encouraged to contact spokespersons and officials representing the sea services, industry, Congress, or other sources to obtain and verify information authoritatively.
- Incorporate references and sources into the body of the article-in other words, do not use footnotes.
- Identify completely (with full name and title) all persons referred to and/or quoted in the article (e.g., Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England) and identify completely all "platforms" or weapons systems mentioned (e.g., "the guided-missile frigate USS Oliver Hazard Perry," "the F/A-18E Super Hornet strike-fighter aircraft").
- Do not refer in the article itself to accompanying charts, tables, or photographs. (They may not be published.)
- Avoid the use of slang, nicknames, military jargon, and casual language in general. Also: minimize the use of contractions; don't use the adjective "great" except in such formal usages as Peter the Great or Great Britain; avoid the all-purpose verb "get"; and severely limit the use of the word "has" in all its variations-a ship doesn't "have" gas turbines; it is perhaps powered by or equipped with gas turbines. Fully define all acronyms in the text on first use.
- Write for an intelligent, well-educated, adult audience interested in national-defense affairs, but not necessarily expert in same. A typical "notional" audience for Sea Power articles would be not a group of retired flag and general officers but the board of directors of a large corporation, the trustees of a major university, the faculty of a local college, or the editorial board and defense correspondents of a newspaper such as the Washington Post or New York Times.
- Most important of all-write clearly and precisely. Develop the theme coherently, with easy bridging or transition from one paragraph to another-show the reader how one idea connects to another in a logical progression of thought. Use the exact word required in each instance, not one that is more or less in the same ballpark. A few examples:
- A "mission" is "carried out," or "accomplished"-it is not "done."
- "China has built up their Navy …" In this example, "their" does not agree with the singular subject China; it should be "its Navy." Subject-verb agreement is a must.
- "The new facilities will make it possible for babies to be born in Roosevelt Hospital for the first time." The phrase "for the first time" should follow the word "possible." Avoid misplaced modifiers.
- Following are a few additional notes, comments, in-house rules, and editorial pet peeves for those writing for Sea Power magazine (or for The Almanac of Seapower).
- The editors reserve the right to edit all articles for clarity, accuracy, style, objectivity, and length-and/or to adhere to the editorial guidelines postulated here. Upon request, and time permitting, galleys will be sent to the author prior to publication. Articles should be submitted in digital format-preferably a Microsoft Word 6.0 document-by disc or as an attached file to an email message. Use of the "spellcheck" tool to assist proofreading is encouraged.
- Article rewrite, if deemed necessary by the editors to comply with these guidelines, will be assigned to the author (time permitting), and must be completed prior to a reasonable rewrite deadline before payment for the article is authorized. Meeting deadlines is essential; the editors should be notified immediately of any delay encountered by the author in order to adjust the production schedule. Payment for articles may be denied for articles that arrive too late for inclusion in the scheduled issue.
- The author is asked to include a short (i.e., one-sentence) biographical statement about himself or herself to precede the article.
- Color photographs, charts, tables, artists' concepts, etc. (with captions and credit lines) are welcome, and material will be returned on request. Sea Power relies extensively upon digital imagery; submissions via email in Photo Shop JPG format with DPI of 300 are preferred. Do not embed photographs, charts, tables, or graphics in PowerPoint or Word documents.
- All reprint and republication rights belong to the Navy League of the United States, unless otherwise arranged at the time an article is submitted. (Many Sea Power articles are reprinted for in-house use by the service academies and war colleges.)
Sea Power Magazine reserves the right not to publish an accepted article if unforeseen circumstances arise (e.g., article overtaken by events, space limitations due to a backlog of articles, increased advertising, etc.). Payment to the author will be made regardless of publication in such cases.
Style Guide and Usage
When preparing manuscripts, please refer to the Associated Press Stylebook (AP) and follow its editorial and style guidelines (unless otherwise noted in this Sea Power style guide). For the sake of uniformity and ease of reading, Sea Power editors use the AP rules for abbreviations, titles, capitalization, etc. When using acronyms, always write out the full term (plus acronym, in parentheses) on first usage. The current Almanac of Seapower includes a list of the most commonly used naval/military acronyms. For hyphenation, refer to Webster's 10th Collegiate Dictionary (or to One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated? by Mary Louise Gilman; this title is available from the National Court Reporters Association). For more complicated questions about usage, style, etc., consult Theodore M. Berstein's 1965 classic The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage.
Following is a short list of some, but by no means all, specific usages preferred by Sea Power's editors and/or that differ in various ways from the usages in the Associated Press Stylebook.
American. Use sparingly when the intent is to describe U.S. citizens, the U.S. military, etc.
"a number of." Use "several": Several ships were sunk.
abbreviations. Place periods after country initials when used as an adjective: U.S. ports. Spell out a country's full name when used as a noun: "The United States declared war."
acronyms. Here, some judgment is needed. In general, if the acronym stands for a common or well-recognized term, use the acronym first followed by its definition (in parentheses) the first time the acronym appears in the article: P3-C Orion systems have limited littoral ASW (antisubmarine warfare) capabilities. This approach is "easier on the reader's eyes" since a general familiarity with naval lexicon and common terms may be assumed. If a term is new or not widely known, write the term first, followed by the acronym, when the acronym will appear later in the text: "A new Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) has been established."
For consistency, the definition of an acronym is not capitalized when it is used to describe a commonly known object: The AAV (amphibious assault vehicle) was disabled. Capitalize the definition when the acronym describes a formal program: The U.S. Navy's CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability) will significantly improve the operational capabilities of forward-deployed carrier battle groups.
It is not necessary to provide the acronym for a term if there is no second reference to it in the article.
aircraft squadron numbers. Use a hyphen before numbers: VF-4.
armed forces. Lowercase: U.S. armed forces.
colon. Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence ("Nimitz had this to say: The U.S. Fifth Fleet came to stay.")
comma. Commas should be used to separate all elements in a series ("… red, white, and blue") and to separate two independent clauses ("The train was on time, and I arrived home safely."). See "comma" listing in the punctuation section of the AP Stylebook.
command-and-control. This phrase is hyphenated as an adjective: command-and-control system. Do not hyphenate when used as a noun.
commander in chief. No hyphens. Capitalize only if used as a formal title before a name.
corporation. Abbreviate corporation as Corp. when a company or government agency uses the word at the end of its name: General Dynamics Corp.
counter. All "counter-" words are solid-e.g., countermine operations.
dates. Day comes before month, e.g. 15 May 1971, not May 15, 1971 (a Sea Power exception to AP Stylebook).
directions and regions. Consult the AP Stylebook. In general, lowercase north, south, northeast, northern, etc., when they indicate compass direction; capitalize these words when they designate regions: He drove east. A storm system originated in the Midwest and is spreading eastward. The North was victorious in the Civil War. Nations in the Orient are opening their doors to Western businessmen. The storm swept across the South Pacific.
ellipsis ( … ). In general, treat an ellipsis as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces, as shown. Use an ellipsis to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts, and documents: "My conclusion," Cabot said, "was that to do otherwise would be … a dangerous precedent." See the AP Stylebook entry for punctuation guidelines.
fiscal year. Write out (in lower case) the first time it is used; abbreviate FY for each subsequent use. The year is written completely: fiscal year 1998.
hyphen. Hyphenate compound nouns when used as adjectives (deep-ocean research, national-security policy). However, "blue water" and "brown water" are not hyphenated when used as adjectives: blue water operations, brown water navy. In general, follow guidelines in One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated? by Mary Louise Gilman. Also note the hyphen guidelines in the AP Stylebook. For compound modifiers (two or more words that express a single concept) preceding a noun, use hyphens to link all words in the compound: land-attack destroyer. One exception to this rule is that the adverb very and adverbs ending in "ly" are not hyphenated when used before a noun: early warning aircraft. As noted in the AP Stylebook, many combinations that are hyphenated before a noun are not hyphenated when they occur after a noun, but when a modifier that would be hyphenated before a noun occurs instead after a form of the verb to be, the hyphen usually must be retained to avoid confusion: The man is well-known. This use of the hyphen helps the reader by avoiding the need for "backing up mentally" to make the compound connection.
homeport. One word; a ship is homeported, not based: The USS Florida's homeport is Bangor, Wash. The USS Nimitz is homeported in Norfolk, Va.
life-cycle. Hyphenate when used as an adjective: life-cycle costs.
lock-in/lock-out. Lock-in/lock-out are hyphenated when used as adjectives: lock-in/lock-out chamber.
military titles and ranks. See the AP Stylebook for proper abbreviations (e.g., Gen., Vice Adm., Lt., Petty Officer 2nd Class, Sgt. Maj., etc.)
multi. Do not hyphenate "multi" words: multimission, multifaceted.
Marines. Uppercase when referring to members of the U.S. Marine Corps; lowercase when referring to marines generically.
names. Use parentheses or brackets, as appropriate, to fully identify an individual the first time he or she is mentioned. "The bottom line is that General Myers [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard B. Myers] has seen certain classified reports not available to the general public." Use brackets [ ] to insert title and name in the transcript of an interview or quotation. Note that in this example the full rank is spelled out because it is a quote; abbreviated ranks are used in accordance with the AP Stylebook (e.g., Gen.). Normally, identify an individual by full name (not nickname, unless a nickname is used commonly to identify the individual: e.g., Jimmy Carter. Refer to titles and courtesy titles in the AP Stylebook.
non. All "non-" words are solid with these exceptions: non-oceangoing, non-interoperable.
numerals. See AP Stylebook listings under hyphen and numerals. Use a hyphen to separate figures in odds, ratios, scores, some fractions and some vote tabulations. See examples in the AP Stylebook under those listings. For suspensive hyphenation, use the form: 100- to 200-mile range, 10- to 20-pound capacity.
Spell out one (1) to nine (9) and use numerals for 10 and higher.
For years, write out completely both times: 1996-1997 (en dash used between numbers).
Specific Examples: 5-inch/45-caliber; 45mm; Mk35; Mod 4.
over. It generally refers to spatial relationships: "The plane flew over the ship." In general, use the phrase "more than" with numerals ("Their salaries went up by more than 10 percent last year.") but over can be used sparingly with numerals: "She is over 30."
percentages. Use figures: 1 percent, 2.5 percent. For amounts less than one percent, precede the decimal with a zero: 0.5 percent. Repeat "percent" with each individual figure: "The enemy could lose 10 percent to 20 percent of its aircraft during the battle."
political affiliation. Party affiliation and state abbreviation should be used for members of Congress; e.g. Sen. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.) or Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.).
punctuation. Do not use a comma before Jr. and Inc., etc.; single space after periods; an "en dash" is used between numbers; an "em dash" replaces double hyphens (no space before or after); insert spaces before and after an ellipsis. Do not use single quotation marks unless quoting within a quote.
Sailors. Uppercase when referring to enlisted members of the U.S. Navy; lowercase when referring to sailors generically.
self. Except for selfish and selfless (and their derivatives), and a few words seldom heard (selfhood), all words with the prefix self- are hyphenated: self-contained.
ships. Identify the ship's type in the first reference in the article and specify if it is nuclear-powered: "The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman returned to her home port yesterday following a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf." Hull numbers are generally not used in the text of an article. U.S. Navy ships are not identified as "USS" until they are commissioned into active service: "The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan will be commissioned in 2002." Place "the" before the ship's name and delete the ship's type in subsequent references: "The ceremony took place the day after the USS Harry S. Truman returned to port." Italicize the ship's name only (not USS) in text of article: "Members of the Pensacola Council met the USS Harry S. Truman on her arrival."
ship numbers. No hyphen before ship numbers: CVN 75, FFG 7. One exception occurs when referring to a specific Navy program: the DD-21 program, the LPD-17 program.
spelling. Refer to Webster's; American English spelling is used unless the word is part of a proper noun: The U.K. Ministry of Defence.
titles. Follow AP Stylebook (under "military titles"). In the first reference to an officer or civilian official, capitalize and put the individual's job title before his/her rank and name-e.g., Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vernon E. Clark; in subsequent references use only the last name of a man (or the abbreviated title): "Clark said …"; "the CNO said …". Use Miss, Mrs., Ms. or no title before the name of a woman (depending on her preference, if known). Capitalize titles only as a formal title before one or more names: Adm. Clark, President Bush. Lowercase in all other uses: "The president said today." "The commandant of the Marine Corps met with his staff to discuss …" When a job title is unusually long, put it after the name to make it easier on the reader: Adm. Frank L. Bowman, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.
United States. Spell out when used as a noun; use "U.S." when used as an adjective. The same applies for the U.K. and United Kingdom.
-wide. All "-wide" words are solid: worldwide, theaterwide, statewide.
World War I, World War II. Spell out when used as nouns: World War I was described at the time as "the war to end all wars." Abbreviate without periods or spaces when used as an adjective: The WWII-era submarine was preserved.
Copies of the Associated Press Stylebook may be obtained by calling: (212) 621-1821 or fax (212) 621-1567 or writing to:
The Associated Press, APN Special Projects
50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10020.
Copies of One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated? may be ordered by calling: 1 (800) 272-6272.