Manuscript Formatting Guide

This guide describes how to prepare contributions for submission. We recommend you read this in full if you have not previously submitted a contribution to Joint Force Quarterly. We also recommend that, before submission, you familiarize yourself with JFQ’s style and content by reading the journal, either in print or online, particularly if you have not submitted to the journal recently.

Table of contents

1. Formats for JFQ Contributions

2. The Editorial Process

3. Readability

4. Format of Articles

5. Submission

1. Formats for JFQ Contributions

1.1 Articles

Articles must be complete (rather than proposals or sample chapters) and in an electronic format (Microsoft Word document). Authors are asked to describe the manuscript in a cover letter and indicate the expected audience. Submissions are evaluated for originality, contribution to a significant national security issue, and appropriateness for the overall publishing program of NDU Press. 

Articles submitted to NDU Press must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere.

NDU Press is unable to provide payment or royalty to authors.

Articles must have an abstract, separate from the main text, of up to 200 words, which does not have references, and does not contain numbers, abbreviations, or acronyms. It is aimed at readers outside the discipline. This abstract contains a paragraph (2-3 sentences) of basic-level introduction to the field; a brief account of the background and rationale of the work; a statement of the main conclusions; and finally, 2-3 sentences putting the main findings into general context so it is clear how the results described in the article have moved the field forwards.

Articles should be between 2,500 and 5,000 words.

1.2 Book Reviews

NDU Press publishes reviews of recent and soon-to-be-released books of professional interest to members of the military and national security communities. Topics can include joint and integrated operations; national security policy and strategy; efforts to combat terrorism; homeland security; and developments in training and joint professional military education. Please follow our guidelines when considering a review.

NDU Press will provide reviewers with a complimentary copy of the book selected for review from the list of offerings. If interested in writing a review, email your name, address, a short biography and list of credentials/area of expertise, and choice of title to the book review editor. Also attach a brief, single-authored writing sample (previously published book reviews are preferred) in a Word document; if you have any written work that has been published and is available on the Internet, a hyperlink that goes directly to your work (NOT to the home page of the Web site in which your work appears) will suffice. Unsolicited reviews of recent publications also will be considered; please contact the editor prior to submission to determine if the title under consideration is appropriate or is already being reviewed.

Reviews submitted to the journal must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere. No payment or royalty can be made to authors. The editor reserves the right to edit and abridge reviews. Please be aware that at the editor’s discretion, book reviews may be published in either the hard copy version of Joint Force Quarterly or on the NDU Press Web site. Submission of a review indicates acceptance of publication in either venue.

Guidelines of basic scholarship apply to book reviews. Reviewers should evaluate the book's contribution (be it positive or negative) to the larger body of scholarship on the topic, using specific examples. Criteria for evaluation include the style, authority, and objectivity of the book. Reviews can be 800-1,000 words in length. Reviews need to be returned to the editor no later than 90 days after the book is assigned; please take this requirement into consideration when requesting a book, and if you cannot meet it, please do not ask to review a book.

A heading with pertinent information about the book should be included with the text:

James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 1-234-567-8. 944 pp. $50.

Also include a brief (one-line) byline to publish with the review.

1.3 Letters to the Editor

NDU Press also accepts Letters to the Editor.

2. The Editorial Process

See Getting Published In Joint Force Quarterly for an explanation of JFQ's editorial criteria for publication, refereeing policy and how editors handle papers after submission. Submission is taken by the journal to mean that all the listed authors have agreed all of the contents. See authorship policy for more details.

3. Readability

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.  Essential but specialized terms should be explained concisely but not didactically.

JFQ's editors provide detailed advice about format before contributions are formally accepted for publication.

JFQ's editors often suggest revised titles and rewrite the summaries of articles so the conclusions are clear to a broad readership.

After acceptance, JFQ's copyeditors ensure that the text and figures are readable and clear to those outside the field, and edit papers into JFQ's house style. They pay particular attention to summary paragraphs, overall clarity, figures, figure legends, and titles.

4. Format of articles

Contributions should be double spaced and written in English (spellings as in the Oxford English Dictionary).

In order to facilitate the review process, for initial submissions we encourage authors to incorporate the manuscript text and figures together in a single file (Microsoft Word, up to 20 MB in size). The figures may be inserted within the text at the appropriate positions or grouped at the end, and each figure legend should be presented together with its figure.

4.1 Text

Articles should be between 2,500 and 5,000 words. Our only accepted format for text is Microsoft Word, with the style tags removed. We prefer the use of a "standard" font, preferably 12-point Times New Roman. For mathematical symbols, Greek letters, and other special characters, use normal text or Symbol font. Word Equation Editor/MathType should be used only for formulae that cannot be produced using normal text or Symbol font.

When submitting new or revised manuscripts, authors should state in a cover letter to the editor the word length of their paper.  Authors of contributions that significantly exceed the limits stated here or specified by the editor will have to shorten their papers before acceptance, inevitably delaying publication.

4.2 Endnotes

Endnotes should be used sparingly. Format for endnotes must follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. Endnotes must be hyperlinked with the text referenced. Discursive endnotes are strongly discouraged; cite only direct quotations and paraphrases. No need for a bibliography.

4.3 Tables

Tables should each be presented on a separate page, portrait (not landscape) orientation, and upright on the page, not sideways.

Tables have a short, one-line title in bold text. Tables should be as small as possible. Bear in mind the size of a JFQ page as a limiting factor when compiling a table.

Symbols and abbreviations are defined immediately below the table, followed by essential descriptive material as briefly as possible, all in double-spaced text.

4.4 Figures

Figures should be as small and simple as is compatible with clarity. The goal is for figures to be comprehensible to readers in other or related disciplines, and to assist their understanding of the paper. Unnecessary figures and parts (panels) of figures should be avoided: data presented in small tables or histograms, for instance, can generally be stated briefly in the text instead. Avoid unnecessary complexity, coloring, and excessive detail.

Figures should not contain more than one panel unless the parts are logically connected; each panel of a multipart figure should be sized so that the whole figure can be reduced by the same amount and reproduced on the printed page at the smallest size at which essential details are visible. 

Some brief guidance for figure preparation:

  • Lettering in figures (labelling of axes and so on) should be in lower-case type, with the first letter capitalized and no full stop.
  • Units should have a single space between the number and the unit, and follow the nomenclature common to a particular field. Thousands should be separated by commas (1,000). Unusual units or abbreviations are defined in the legend.
  • Scale bars should be used rather than magnification factors.
  • Layering type directly over shaded or textured areas and using reversed type (white lettering on a colored background) should be avoided where possible.
  • Where possible, text, including keys to symbols, should be provided in the legend rather than on the figure itself.

Figure quality

At initial submission, figures should be at good enough quality to be assessed by referees, ideally as JPEGs if supplied separately, or inserted in the Word doc if the manuscript text and figures are incorporated together in a single file. Authors are advised to follow the initial and revised submissions guidelines with respect to sizing, resolution and labelling.

5. Submission

Articles must be submitted via email to  When submitting a manuscript, authors are required to include the:

  • Full name of all authors
  • Author service and rank (if applicable)
  • Current position/prospective assignment of author(s)
  • Telephone number of author(s)
  • Physical mailing address of author(s)
  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • Number of words

Before submitting, all contributors must agree to all of JFQ's publication policies.