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Manuscript Criteria for Prospective Authors

This webpage provides information on manuscript criteria for potential contributors to Army Communicator magazine.

Shortcuts to topics this page:

Manuscript length
General manuscript requirements and formatting

Related webpages/topics:

General writer's guidance:

How to submit an article
green square bullet Notes on "department" updates
green square bullet Book reviews
green square bullet References

Editorial policy and philosophy:

Mission and philosophy
Article subjects
Coordination with the editor

AC style manual:

green square bullet The Army writing standard
green square bullet Style (general guidance)
green square bullet Article sections
green square bullet Clarity index
green square bullet Writer's guide to style (specific guidance)

Manuscript length

A question we often receive is "how long should the article be?" AC articles average between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Shorter or longer articles, as well as two- and three-part articles, are accepted if we deem them appropriate in interest and value.

General manuscript requirements and formatting


A manuscript is accepted for publication only after thorough examination. The manuscript is subject to grammatical and structural changes as well as editing for style.

Manuscripts should be original and unpublished, and not being considered for publication elsewhere. (Do not send a manuscript to us, to the Armed Forces Communications-Electronics Association's Signal magazine, or other publications at the same time.) Material accepted for publication, including photos and artwork, becomes our property.

"Legalities" (payment, copyright, reference/source attribution, Public Affairs and security clearances)

We do not pay for articles or illustrations other than providing contributors with complimentary copies of the magazine.

AC is not copyrighted. All material published is considered in the public domain unless otherwise indicated. (Occasionally we use copyrighted material by permission; this material is clearly marked with the appropriate legal notification.)

Credit your reference and source data within your manuscript (not as footnotes). Enclose quoted material in quotation marks. We will retain bibliographies and footnotes on file with your manuscript, but we do not print them, as in the academic manner.

If you get permission to use someone else's graphic or photo, especially from the private sector, we need proof of that in writing.

Clearance requirements are outlined in Army Regulation 360-1, Chapter 5, Paragraph 5-3. Headquarters Department of the Army/Office of the Secretary of Defense clearance is required if your article meets any of the criteria listed there. Article clearance is further covered in Paragraph 6-6, with procedures on how to do so outlined in Paragraph 6-9. The bottom line on most article clearance is discussed in Paragraph 6-6 -- while you certainly may ask your local Public Affairs Office's advice, it is the "author's responsibility to ensure security is not compromised. Information that appears in open sources does not constitute declassification. The combination of several open-source documents may result in a classified document." So while AC may question the sensitivity of an article we receive, it is not our responsibility to clear articles and we do not do so as general policy and practice. It remains the author's responsibility, as outlined in AR 360-1.


Double-space your manuscript and type on one side of the sheet. The first page should have your name, address and telephone number in one of the top corners, plus a suggested title and your byline.

Please don't forget the cover letter/cover page requesting publication, including work phone number, email address, snail-mail address and manuscript word count.

Be sure to include a short biography as outlined in the "how to submit an article" section. Include current position, highlights of the author's career, military and civilian education. We ask that you place this information at the end of the article but prior to the acronym listing you provide the editor. (Do not place acronyms in the text's main body; instead provide an acronym listing at the article's end.) The main idea is to establish the author's "credibility" on why he or she is qualified to write about his or her article's subject; experience and education should be pertinent and selected to support one's claimed expertise.

If you snail-mail AC an article on a 3 1/2-inch diskette, also send a hard-copy version of the article. Send the art supporting the article (if any) on a disc and in hard-copy.

We'll accept articles and art in the proper format via email; please send them as attachments to a message, rather than in the body of the message itself.

Please do not fax us articles.

Submit the article as a simple word-processing file. Especially do not:

Set the article in columns.
Use more than one type font.
Set up table formats in the computer file, nor any tabs except the front-of-the-paragraph tab. If you wish to indicate to the editor how you'd like the table to appear in the magazine, print the article out hard-copy with its formats as an example for the editor and then delete the formats/tabs before copying the article to a disc. This will help the editor visualize what you have in mind and will keep complicated formats and tabbing from failing to convert in the desktop-publishing system.


We encourage photographs, graphics and illustrations to accompany your article. We'll accept color or black-and-white photographic prints. Hard-copy illustrations or diagrams should be the original or a clean, "crisp," high-quality first-generation copy.

Do not embed art (photographs, charts, diagrams, etc., are all considered "art") in the text. For electronic submissions, save each piece of art as an individual file separate from the manuscript itself, whether submitting the article via email or on diskette. Each piece of art should be a single JPG or TIF -- do not paste illustrations into word-processing software. The JPG or TIF must be of high enough resolution (300 dpi recommended) and sufficient physical size (5 inches wide recommended, unless a diagram is very detailed, then scale to 7 ¼ inches wide) to meet offset-print-quality standards. Do not embed art in PowerPoint or similar software – PowerPoint brings the art’s resolution down to 72 dpi. (This resolution is OK for the web but too low for offset printing off a printing press, which is how AC is published.)

If your art (illustrations or diagrams) does not meet quality standards as outlined in the preceding paragraph, it must be redrawn to meet print-quality standards. The art should therefore arrive in Army Communicator's editorial office three weeks earlier than the manuscript deadline for each edition. Coordination with the editor on artwork is recommended unless you obtain the services of a qualified illustrator, such as an artist in your Training Support Center's Visual Information (or equivalent) Branch.

In summary

Your manuscript package should consist of these items in this order:

Cover letter/cover page requesting publication, including work phone number, email address, snail-mail address and manuscript word count;
1,000- to 3,000-word original, unpublished manuscript submitted as simple word-processing document and with proper attribution to sources;
Manuscript on 3 1/2-inch diskette if submitting article hard-copy, or attached to email if submitting electronically;
Author biographical sentences at article's end;
Acronym list following short author biography;
Photos or illustrations submitted separate from the text (not embedded in the text), with each piece of "art" as an individual file in JPG or TIF format;
Letter or email getting permission for to use private-sector photo or illustration and/or copyright release, if applicable;
Word-processing document containing adequate description of the photographs/illustrations and photographer/illustrator credits.


Commander, USASC&FG

ATTN: ATZH-POM (Army Communicator)

Bldg 29808A (Signal Towers), Room 713

Fort Gordon, GA 30905

(706) 791-7204 (DSN 780)

 Email Web Administrator

Last Modified: 08/23/2011