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Future Force showcases the current state and past accomplishments of the naval science and technology (S&T) community. The magazine shares and highlights the results of naval research to better inform authorizers, customers, and users of Department of the Navy-funded S&T. It is produced four times a year by the Office of Naval Research for the benefit of the naval research community. The magazine is available to the public on the web, as well as in print to select members of the naval S&T community.

Future Force is written for civilian, contractor, and uniformed members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, as well as members of government, academia, and industry. Specifically, the targeted audience is customers and authorizers (fleet, program offices, system commands, the Department of Defense, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Secretary of the Navy, Congress, and resource sponsors) of naval S&T. The subject matter of articles should be unclassified and focused on current or past Navy-funded S&T programs and projects.

Authors should ensure that all articles will be understood by a knowledgeable, but not necessarily specialized, readership. Acronyms, jargon, or complex charts that may not be recognized by members of other communities must be fully described or explained. Future Force does not present peer-reviewed articles and is not intended to be a primary disseminator of original basic research results.

Future Force is an unclassified publication. All submissions must be precleared through your command’s public release process before being sent to our staff.

In simplest terms, here are several things for all authors to keep in mind while writing articles:

  1. What is the project or technology you’re describing? Would your explanation of what it is only be understandable to a colleague, or would your friend who works in the defense field but who is a non-scientist/engineer be able to understand it? The latter audience is the group we’re trying to reach.
  2. Why do warfighters need to know about this project or technology? There are other venues to discuss the larger benefits of this science and these technologies, but Future Force is focused on what they bring to building the Navy and Marine Corps of the future.
  3. What progress has been made in moving this technology forward? Showing clear steps in a project from point A to point B will help bring everything together in connecting points 1 and 2 above.

This link provides some helpful tips for writing about science and technology for a more general audience.

Feature Articles

Feature articles are of approximately 1,500-2,500 words in length and are generally published as 2-6 page layouts, depending on the length of the text and the number and quality of available photographs or illustrations. You are highly encouraged to accompany your feature article with photographs or other graphics. (See “Photographs” below.)

If your article has not been solicited from the editorial staff or editorial board, please contact the managing editor to ensure that your topic meets the editorial needs of Future Force. If your topic is approved, the managing editor will determine the schedule for publication and assign an appropriate deadline. Note that content for each issue is generally finalized three to six months ahead of the issue date.


Submitted feature articles should be exclusive to Future Force—i.e., not sent to, or republished from—any other publication. As a professional courtesy, we request that those desiring to reprint Future Force material inform the managing editor and credit Future Force appropriately.


All content in Future Force is reviewed by the editorial staff at the Office of Naval Research and by an editorial board composed of diverse members of the naval research community. Future Force is not meant to be an academic, peer-reviewed journal, but a venue for illuminating the results of ongoing research of interest to a wide audience. Remember, in composing your article, you are writing for readers who are broadly knowledgeable and interested, but not necessarily experts in your field.

Writing a Feature Article

Write the story the way you would tell it in person, with the most important information in the first few paragraphs. Be sure that the story contains a cohesive theme or topic, and that this is reflected in the introduction and conclusion. Every story should include, at a minimum, the “Five Ws”:

  1. Who are the important people and organizations involved with your research?
  2. What important events or actions have occurred so far with your project?
  3. Where are the locations associated with your research?
  4. When did important events occur?
  5. Why is your project important to readers, the Navy and Marine Corps, and S&T in general?

Quotes can be useful in a feature article to help the article’s readability, to introduce experts in the field discussing the technology being featured, and to break up long sections of text. Please make sure, however, that quotes are consistent with the Future Force guideline of clear and accessible wording, and that subjects being quoted have approved in writing that their quotes are being used in the article.


The Future Force editorial staff will make appropriate changes to feature articles to ensure conformity with magazine style, rules of grammar, and the mission of the magazine. All edited feature articles are presented back to authors before publication.

Submitting a Feature Article

Email articles to, formatted in Microsoft Word.

Column Items

In addition to features, Future Force also has several regular columns on particular topics. Column items generally are stories of approximately 750 words or less. These items could appear in our Tomorrow’s Tech, Science Review, or Future Watch departments. If there are any photographs for your column item, please be sure to send these as well. (See “Guidelines for Photographs” below.)

Tomorrow’s Techs are brief descriptions of current technologies being funded by naval research. Science Review provides very brief descriptions of current research being done that is relevant to naval S&T researchers and leaders (but that otherwise is not covered by a feature article). Future Watch provides a glimpse at the future prospects (10-30 years in the future) for long-range science and technology research.

Email articles to, formatted in Microsoft Word.

Photographs and Graphics

Even if all you have is an interesting photo, please send it to us for consideration. Photographs and other graphics capture the reader’s interest, and also are effective tools for telling or enhancing a story. If you do not have email and/or scanner access, please send your submission by snail mail to our address, care of the managing editor.

Submitting Digital Images

When submitting publically released images for news items or for a feature article, we prefer to receive them digitally. Photographs must each be submitted as individual files-they must not be embedded in a Word document, PowerPoint slide, or other document of any kind.

We need the highest-resolution photos you can provide-preferably 300 dpi or greater. If the photos were shot digitally, please send them exactly as they are. Do not attempt to crop, adjust the image size, quality, or color. We will accept photos in .jpg, .tif, or raw formats.

Photos may be submitted via email, however file size will determine how many photos can be attached to each message. Generally our mailboxes will accept email messages up to 5 megabytes in size, so depending on the file sizes and the number of images, you may need to send multiple emails. If the size of your digital photos is especially large, you may send them on disk via UPS, FedEx, or similar carrier or contact the photo editor for additionally delivery options.

Additional Information Needed with Photographs

You MUST include the following for each photograph provided, whether hard copy or digital.

  1. Captions: All photos/graphics should have a brief caption that fully explains what is happening in the photo: the circumstances, location, date, and the names/titles/ranks/rates of individuals pictured. Captions should clearly explain the illustration’s connection to the theme of the story. The managing editor reserves the right to reword captions due to space or clarity needs.
  2. Credits: The photographer’s full name (including rate, if military) should be clearly indicated on every photograph.

Supporting Materials/Information


Material borrowed from copyrighted sources must have the publisher’s (or author’s, if unpublished) written permission. Copyrighted photographs, illustrations or text must be accompanied by the publisher’s or author’s written statement granting permission for their use in Future Force.

Cover Sheet

All articles should be accompanied by a cover letter (email is sufficient) that lists any other publications to which the story was submitted, if applicable. Include the name and phone number of the point of contact for the article.

Provide the full name of each author to be included in the byline, as well as the rank/rate and billet title. Provide a brief biographical statement about each author.

Certification by Commanding Officer (or Equivalent)

All feature articles from official military sources must receive the approval for public release by a commanding officer or the individual with releasing authority. Please be able to provide documentation of release if requested.