WAR ROOM is the online journal of the United States Army War College, created through the gracious support of the U.S. Army War College Foundation, but WAR ROOM is not just for the Army community.
We think open competition improves the quality of ideas, and we believe that good ideas can come from anywhere. WAR ROOM has a crowdsourcing approach to content generation, and it relies on contributions through an open submission process. WAR ROOM features innovative and provocative articles and podcasts that explore challenges in national security and defense intended for a broad audience of well-informed readers and listeners.
The content on WAR ROOM reflects the views of the authors and other contributors. These views are not necessarily those of the United States Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
WAR ROOM requires all submissions adhere to the Submission Guidelines, below. Submissions that do not meet these guidelines will be returned without substantive editorial review.
WAR ROOM editors reserve the right to refuse publication for any reason.
WAR ROOM RULES FOR WRITERS:
- Anyone can write for WAR ROOM. We are affiliated with the US Army War College, but producing great writing about defense and national security is the only qualification for our authors.
- Be concise. Have a point and get to it. Our preferred length is 1200-1500 words, and we reject submissions longer than 1800 words.
- Write for the educated generalist. Avoid military jargon, and do not use acronyms or initialisms that you would not see in the New York Times.
- Keep it interesting. Follow the “inverse Thumper rule”: If you only have nice things to say, don’t say nothing at all. That said, no ad hominem attacks.
- Support assertions with facts from legitimate sources. Cite any factual assertions that are not common knowledge, and cite references to other people’s work. When in doubt, cite. Ensure you accurately represent the facts. Bernard Baruch said, “Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.” All citations should be hyperlinked to the most accessible and credible source.
- Think beyond the news cycle. We seek to publish articles that are timely and relevant but, six months (or a year or two) from now, your essay should still be interesting.
WAR ROOM RULES FOR EDITORS:
- Maintain editorial neutrality. In reviewing your work, we have no agenda apart from advancing a productive, public discourse about important ideas in defense and national security. We welcome essays that are thoughtfully critical of the U.S. Army and other institutions. We also welcome thoughtful defenses of the same.
- Provide respectful, supportive, and responsive editorial reviews. Writers have numerous options for publishing their work. WAR ROOM must be an attractive choice.
HAVE AN IDEA FOR AN ARTICLE, FEATURE, OR PODCAST?
- ARTICLE: Submit complete articles to email@example.com and include ARTICLE in the subject line. Articles must conform to all submission guidelines outlined here.
- PITCH: If you have an idea for an article but would like editorial feedback before you write and submit a full essay, send a pitch (maximum of 200 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with PITCH in the subject line. Include your proposed topic and question and outline your argument briefly. A member of the editorial team will be in touch to discuss how to take your idea from concept to published essay.
- PODCAST: We produce podcasts for A BETTER PEACE that are between 20-30 minutes per episode on the same range of topics as WAR ROOM. Given current technological limitations, we are unable to record podcasts with guests who are not in Carlisle, PA. Nevertheless, if you have an idea for a podcast, please send it to email@example.com with PODCAST in the subject line.
- WHITEBOARD: Nominate potential Whiteboard questions or full submissions by including WHITEBOARD in the subject line of your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Whiteboard submissions should include an open-ended question and short (250-300 words) answers from a variety of perspectives.
- SPECIAL FEATURES: Do you have an idea that doesn’t quite fit into one of the categories above? Let us know what you’d like to do by emailing email@example.com and putting FEATURE in the subject line.
Please formally withdraw submissions to other publications before submitting them to WAR ROOM. Also ensure that your submission is substantially different from other work that you have published before.
Suitability and Scope
WAR ROOM publishes articles and features on a wide variety of topics related to defense, strategic theory, theater and campaign planning, military innovation, the future of war, the history of war, national security, professional military education, military organizations, international relations, and leadership. The strategic environment is a complicated one, and WAR ROOM seeks to publish provocative and engaging content to promote the sound strategic thinking necessary to tackle these complicated problems.
- We do not publish articles or podcasts that are merely informational or promotional, no matter how worthy the cause.
- We will consider publishing first-person reflections or perspectives when they are clearly relevant to the scope of WAR ROOM and link to broader strategic-level questions or problems.
- We generally avoid pieces that are confined to current events, but such events can be a context for exploring a broader strategic question. We will publish articles that have a timeless quality.
- We generally do not publish book reviews, but we welcome articles or podcasts that bring new attention or focus to older (30+ years) works as part of our Dusty Shelves series.
Include an engaging lead (opening sentence or paragraph) designed to draw readers in and keep them interested.
Your article should have a clear argument that is evident in the first couple of paragraphs. The conclusion should not be a surprise, but it should prompt readers to think about the broader implications of what you are saying.
Write in an engaging, accessible style. Use concrete examples and vignettes to illustrate your points, especially when they are theoretical or abstract. Write in the active voice. Generally, favor short paragraphs to long ones (remember, your article will primarily be read on screen.)
Use simple, direct language. Do not assume your reader has any background in the subject you are writing about. Avoid jargon and acronyms.
Include quotations selectively and only when they are immediately relevant to supporting your argument. Avoid using block quotations. We echo the guidance of the guidance of the University of Wisconsin Writer’s Handbook, which recommends using quotations in four instances:
- to show that an authority supports your point
- to present a position or argument to critique or comment on
- to include especially moving or historically significant language
- to present a particularly well-stated passage whose meaning would be lost or changed if paraphrased or summarized
Generally, academic texts do not justify quotation based on authority alone. Unless one of the other conditions holds, paraphrase.
Whenever possible, assign actions or decisions to specific people or groups. Do not say “the United States” if you mean “the US Congress” or “military leaders” if you mean “The Chief of Staff of the Army.”
Do not assume all your readers are American. (Thus, it’s generally best to avoid “we” unless the narrow group is quite clear.)
If you make recommendations, be specific about who you recommend take the action.
WAR ROOM generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook on matters of punctuation, grammar, and style. Our editors will help ensure articles conform to these guidelines.
Limit the use of section headers and bullet points.
Many of our readers consume WAR ROOM content on smartphones. Please do not include any graphics unless they are essential and available for use without copyright concerns.
We encourage humor, provided it shows appropriate respect to others and excludes foul or inappropriate language.
Citations and Sources
We are vigilant about plagiarism and expect authors to cite sources – including factual statements, quotes, graphics, etc. Cite any assertions of fact that are not automatically known to be legitimate, and cite any interpretations of fact that are not your own.
Be cautious when linking to online sources. Do not link directly to leaked classified documents or materials inappropriately acquired or posted – link only to unclassified open source materials.
Cite references using hyperlinks.
- Cite by embedding hyperlinks to reliable, relevant and accessible sources.
- For multiple references relevant to a single sentence, hyperlink different sources in adjacent words.
- To cite a book, include a hyperlink to the publisher’s website if possible. (Do not link to Amazon or other sales sites.)
- Favor accessible sources whenever possible (i.e., those not behind paywalls or that require special access).
Do not use footnotes or endnotes. Submissions with note citations will be returned.
Submit files to firstname.lastname@example.org as Microsoft Word files. No other file types are supported.
- All files should be double-spaced and in Times New Roman, 12 point font.
- Include a header with the article title and page numbers on all pages.
- Include a cover sheet with the following information
- Title of work;
- Name(s), title(s), and organizational affiliation(s), and contact information (email and phone) of author(s); For papers with multiple authors, please identify a corresponding author;
- Brief abstract (3-5 sentences) that summarizes the piece;
- Word count;
- Any required disclaimers or declaration of security/policy review or clearance from author’s organization
Security and Policy Review (for employees of the US Government)
Per Department of Defense (DoD) policy, military members (whether active or reserve) and DoD civilians must clear any articles with their local public affairs office prior to submission to WAR ROOM. DoD authors must include an appropriate disclaimer that the article represents solely the author’s views and not necessarily those of DoD. Employees of other government agencies (federal, state, or local) are encouraged to do same. Including such disclaimers speeds the editorial process. If you require that your organization separately review an article, please inform the WAR ROOM editors.
Before publication, all articles published on WAR ROOM are reviewed by the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Army War College. This review will not reject an article purely based on controversial content. Indeed, WAR ROOM seeks provocative articles. Legitimate reasons for rejection at this stage include: 1) inaccurate statements of U.S. Government policy; 2) inclusion of classified information; and 3) ad hominem (i.e., personal) attacks on people featured in the article. The WAR ROOM Editor-in-Chief has final release authority for content published on WAR ROOM.
Each article or feature submission will be categorized by the WAR ROOM editorial team in one of the following ways:
- Accepted (accepted with copyedits; this is rare)
- Accepted with revisions (provisional acceptance pending revision in collaboration with a member of the WAR ROOM editorial team)
- Revise and Resubmit (the WAR ROOM editorial team believes the piece has merit, but it requires extensive revision before publication; a WAR ROOM editor will provide substantive feedback to the author; a second round of editorial review will be required.)
- Reject – Submission Guidelines (author should ensure their submission conforms to the guidelines above and may resubmit)
- Reject – Substantive (the article is not the right fit for WAR ROOM)
The WAR ROOM managing editor will communicate all such decisions with authors as soon as is practical. The managing editor will confirm receipt of all submissions to WAR ROOM. Our aim is to have an initial decision to authors within two weeks of submission. For article PITCHES, the acceptance process may be slightly different if you are assigned to work with a WAR ROOM developmental editor on the piece. Otherwise, submissions based on promising pitches will go through the same process as full submissions.
Articles that are categorized as accepted, provisionally accepted, or revise-and-resubmit will be returned to the authors in a word document with tracked changes and editorial comments.
In revising your article in response to editorial feedback, authors must track their changes (i.e., keep track changes ON) and should reply to queries or incorporate changes into the text of the document.
Authors are not required to concur with all editorial feedback. Where authors choose to disregard it, they should include a brief comment in relevant section of the document, explaining their decision.
Authors are generally expected to respond to editorial feedback within two weeks of receiving it, but if you need an extension, just ask.
The WAR ROOM Editorial team strives to complete the editing process in an efficient, friendly, and helpful manner. Our aim is to do as few rounds of revision as possible, but as many as necessary. For many articles, this may include two or three rounds of revision.