PRISM Submission Guidelines and Writing Tips

The editor of PRISM evaluate submitted manuscripts with the following criteria in mind: Continuing education for national security professionals, scholarly standards of evidence and argumentation, and readability. The editor defines continuing national security education broadly to address all issues encompassed in the employment, threat and control of force. Very few submissions are rejected on the grounds that they lie beyond the journal's purview. Far more frequently, manuscripts fail to pass the "so what?" test. Even if everything in the article is accurate and criticism is delivered with precision, does the author recommend clear solutions, or arm the reader with actionable education?  Be aggressive in seeking out and identifying problems that should be fixed irrespective of Service perspective, conventional wisdom, or published doctrine.

Directions

  1. Email your submission as an attachment in Microsoft Word format to PRISM@ndu.edu "Attention A & R Editor" in the subject line.
  2. Include in the body of the email a brief biography with your full name, Service and rank (if applicable), current position/prospective assignment, telephone number(s), and physical mailing address.
  3. Also, please confirm that the manuscript IS NOT under consideration for publication elsewhere.
  4. Aim for 4,000 to 7,000 words in length. Articles substantially longer will be returned to the author for revision. Book review submissions should be 800 to 1,000 words. Be sure to include your name on the manuscript.
  5. Use endnotes sparingly. Format for endnotes must follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. Endnotes must be hyperlinked with the text referenced. Discursive endnotes are strongly discouraged; cite only direct quotations and paraphrases. No need for a literature review.
  6. Type your manuscript in 12 point Times New Roman or comparable standard font.
  7. Keep formatting to a minimum; do not try to make your manuscript appear as it will when printed.
  8. Do not embed graphics, charts, or tables in the text; include them in separate files but insert placeholders in text to show approximate location of artwork.
  9. Do not include bibliographies or appendices..

Please adhere to the following guidelines when submitting an article for consideration in PRISM. Only these guidelines are correct. (Guidelines found on the Defense Technical Information Center [DTIC] Web site are outdated.)

Writing Tips

Select a timely, relevant topic, but realize that doing so does not guarantee a timely, relevant paper. Do not conflate the importance of your topic with the importance of your writing about that topic.

An "A" paper written for a classroom environment and a published article are not necessary the same thing.

Remember the most important part of writing is to learn, not to teach. Students write essays in a classroom to learn; they do not truly understand an issue until they write about it. Writing causes students to think logically and coherently. Published articles should teach. A published article often begins as a student essay, but much work and revision goes into that paper before it is worthy of publication.

Answer the So what? question. Asking an individual to read 3,000 to 5,000 words is asking a lot. After that reader is finished, he must be edified by what he has read and prepared to operationalize it in some way.

Write in plain English. "Mil" speak, "Pentagonese," "security" speak, etc., are alienating to most readers and demonstrate not only pretention but also, in some cases, an inability to discuss an issue consistently, coherently, and knowingly. Writers who are on "the inside" of a topic must realize that most readers are not. Writing for an extremely limited audience (that is, all of the other "insiders") is not publishable. Overuse of jargon, acronyms, and initialisms demonstrates lack of creativity and careful thought.