Take Notice: The 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar

January 9, 2014

2014-NCTC-Counterterrorism-Calendar-spiral-boundIf you didn’t catch the Washington Post “In the Loop” article by Al Kamen this week entitled “Counter terror calendar 2014 is out!,” you’ll be pleased to know that yes, the 2014 edition of the National Counterterrorism Center’s annual Counterterrorism Desk Calendar is now available for ordering on the U.S. Government Bookstore.

Image: Cover of the 164-page 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar from the National Counterterrorism Center depicts the 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon. Photo Credit: David L. Ryan / Boston Globe.

The goal behind the Counterterrorism Calendar is to educate and inform both professionals– first responders, military, intelligence, law enforcement and other counterterrorism personnel– as well as civilians about the threats of international terrorism and how to prevent, respond or mitigate these threats against the United States both at home and abroad.

History of U.S. Government Inviting Citizen Involvement in Domestic Security

Since its founding, America has had a history of inviting its citizens to participate in its own defense. Even with the danger of British sympathizers turning them in, brave revolutionaries posted recruiting posters on behalf of the Continental Congress such as the one below that invited Americans to “Take Notice” and help General Washington and the Continental Army defend against “the hostile designs of foreign enemies.”

revolutionary-war-take-notice-recruiting-posterImage: This Revolutionary War recruiting poster urged brave and able-bodied young men to “take notice” and join forces with General Washington and the Continental Army in the fight against “foreign enemies,” in this case, the British. Photo Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS

In World War 2, the Federal Government issued numerous similar domestic campaigns reminding citizens that it was their civic duty to “defend America” and inviting citizens to help support the war industry and to be vigilant against spies, saboteurs and other actions by the enemy both at home and abroad.

Defend-American-Freedom It's Everybody's-Job- World War II 2 propaganda poster for civilian workersImage: U.S. Government World War II propaganda poster urging civilians to participate in the war effort. Source: University of North Texas Digital Library

Today, the war is a War on Terror, and the U.S. Government still needs involvement and vigilance of its citizens and allies, whether in the United States or abroad, to identify and protect against terrorists.

The 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar

Under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center or NCTC serves as the primary organization in the U.S. government for integrating and analyzing all intelligence possessed or acquired by the U.S. government about international terrorism, including data from U.S. Federal agencies like the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the FBI as well as other domestic and international sources.

First published in a spiral-bound daily planner format in 2003, just two years after the World Trade Center attacks, the Counterterrorism or CT Calendar from the NCTC is published annually. According to the NCTC, their 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar:

…provides information on known terrorist groups, individual terrorists, and technical information on topics such as biological and chemical threats.This edition, like others since the Calendar was first published in daily planner format in 2003, contains many features across the full range of issues pertaining to international terrorism: terrorist groups, wanted terrorists, and technical pages on various threat-related topics.

Features of the Calendar

In addition to serving as a desk calendar / event planner, the 164-page 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar also serves as a tutorial on international terrorism and a gallery of “most wanted” terrorists.

The right-hand page of the planner has the event planner dates along with key historical events of significance to terrorists that might be used to plan future terrorist activities. For example, on January 8, 1998, terrorist Ramzi Ahmed Yousef was sentenced to life plus 240 years for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

On the left-hand pages are photos, maps and/or data on terrorists and terrorist organizations around the world, from Africa and the Middle East to Europe and the Americas.

Map-Somalia-based-al-Shabaab-terror-attacksImage: Map denoting locations of major terrorist incidents likely committed by the Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin—commonly known as al-Shabaab, a “clan-based insurgent and terrorist group” operating in and around Somalia. Source: NCTC 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar

“Terrorism tutorial” information ranges from cultural—details about the Islamic Calendar; the spelling of Arabic names and terms; lists of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), and logos used— to technical –  information about Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear-Explosive (CBRNE) weapons commonly used by terrorists, from suicide bombs to sarin gas, and how to detect and mitigate them.  For example, who among us would recognize the terrorist threat from these innocent-looking beans?

Castor-beans-used-to-make-ricinImage: Photo of castor beans from which the deadly toxin ricin is extracted. Ricin is poisonous if inhaled, injected, or ingested. Source: NCTC 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar

“Wanted” Terrorists

Providing the real drama of the calendar are the full-page “Wanted” poster-style pages of an individual terrorist, complete with photo (if available), aliases, his terrorist activities, the reward offered, and how to report information about him.

One of the largest rewards, $25 Million, is offered for information leading to the capture of Ayman al-Zawahiri, also known as “The Teacher” or “The Doctor” who is a physician and the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. According to the CT Calendar:

“This organization opposes the secular Egyptian Government and seeks its overthrow through violent means. Al-Zawahiri is believed to have served as an advisor and doctor to Usama Bin Ladin. He has been indicted for his alleged role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. The embassy bombings killed 224 civilians and wounded over 5,000 others.”

Wanted-page-of-terrorist-Ayman-al-Zawahiri-of-Egyptian-Islamic-JihadImage: Extract from the “wanted” page of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaida leader and founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Source: NCTC 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar

Civilian Involvement

Finally, the NCTC carries on the civilian involvement tradition by including instructions for citizens of the U.S. and other countries on how they can help fight terrorism. Pages on” Indicators of False Travel Documents”, “Radicalization”, and how U.S. residents can report suspicions are provided. Additionally, the  Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program is described in detail, wherein the U.S. Secretary of State may offer rewards for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against US persons or property worldwide.

On the last page is a Bomb Threat Call Procedures form with valuable details of questions to ask and information to note about the caller, such as his or her voice (accent, age, tone, language) and background sounds. Did you note if the caller was clearing his throat or had an accent? Were there sounds of machinery in the background? What kind? Any and all details could help law enforcement.

Aspects-to-note-about-Bomb-Threat-CallerImage: Table from the Bomb Threat Call Procedures form. Source: Page 160 of the 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar.

Forewarned is Forearmed

Like the tradition of the best Government civilian campaigns since the founding of the Nation, the National Counterterrorism Center’s annual Counterterrorism Calendar is simultaneously meant to alert and inform us, making both civilians and professionals alike aware of the very real dangers around us and educating us on what—and whom—to look for. With the cover photo depicting the 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon– where ordinary citizens were instrumental in identifying and locating the terrorists responsible– the importance of having an informed and involved citizenry has never been clearer.

How can I get a copy of the National Counterterrorism Center’s 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar?

About the Author: Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


Shock and Awe: 3 Inspiring Wall Calendars for 2013

January 11, 2013

Shock and awe were the terms that came to mind when these three wall calendars / event planners came across my desk this week.

Shock came from the “I didn’t know that!?” response to the fascinating facts and awe as in “How did they take such awe-inspiring photos”? And the final “Awww” as in “Awww, shucks!” because there are only limited quantities available (under 100 each), so if you don’t act immediately, they’ll be gone! In fact, our supply of the National Park’s Service famous National Historic Landmarks calendar last year sold out in a few hours, and we expect this year to be more of the same.

In spite of our now digital world, wall calendars are still useful as a quick visual reference for you, your family or even your team at the office. And with these particular calendars on your wall this year, you will also be inspired to see the beauty in nature both far and near. As Anne Frank said, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.

Let’s take a peek at these three terrific calendars…


The National Historic Landmark 2013 Event Planner Calendar

Each fall, the National Park Service (NPS) holds a public photo contest to choose “fantastic photographs that illustrate the significance of any of the over 2,500 National Historic Landmarks, our nation’s most significant treasures.”  They select one image from each of the 13 National Park Service regions to be included in their annual calendar, with the winning photograph gracing the cover. (There is a separate photo contest for National Natural Landmarks as well.)

What is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, you ask? It may be “a historic building, site, structure, object, or district,” but it must be a “nationally significant historic place” that possesses “exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States” as designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

The goal of their annual National Historic Landmark Photo Contest, says NPS:

“…is to encourage people to discover and explore landmark sites across the country and be inspired by our past. Based on this year’s pool of exceptional photographs, connections were made…Perhaps this year’s winning entries will spark the urge to explore the country’s vast array of more than 2,500 National Historic Landmarks, to seek out the stories that connect our rich history, and share your own views in next year’s contest.”

This 13-month wall calendar / event planner runs from January 2013 through January 2014 and features the winning photographs from the National Park Service’s Thirteenth Annual National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Photo Contest in 2012.

Different this year is the inclusion of bonus contest submission photos on each calendar page, giving even more eye candy every month for us lucky few who have the calendar.

National Historic Landmarks Photo Contest 2013 Calendar front cover

Image: Front of the 2013 NHL calendar shows some of the winning public photos. Listed from top down, left to right: 

  • This year’s winning image of Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site in Saugus, Massachusetts, takes us back in time to the early industry of the 17th century, represented by scenic waterwheels and forge. Here, European iron makers brought their much-needed skills to a young Massachusetts colony (Photo by Don Woods).
  • One of the “bonus” photos is of Hay House staircase in Macon, Georgia (Photo by Andrew Wood).
  • Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, Alaska, dates from the 1890s (Photo by Dawn Wilson).
  • Charleston Market Hall and Sheds, South Carolina, is one of the last surviving 19th century American market complexes (Photo by Steven Hyatt).
  • Stanton Hall, Mississippi, represents Natchez’s wealth and opulence on the eve of the Civil War (Photo by Mike Talplacido).
  • Pike’s Peak, Colorado, a National Historic Landmark, seen from Garden of the Gods, a National Natural Landmark (Photo by Dawn Wilson).
  • Nevada Northern Railway, East Ely Yards, Nevada, is the best-preserved, least-altered, and most complete main yard complex remaining from the steam railroad era (Photo by Jen Dalley).
  • Schooner Alma (NPS), California, built in 1891, is the only survivor of a once-typical American vessel (Photo by John Conway).

National Historic Landmark 2012 Photo Contest Bodie Historic District California

Image: One of the 2012 National Historic Landmark Photo Contest Honorable Mentions in this year’s calendar. Depicts Bodie Historic District, a genuine California gold-mining ghost town from the late 1800’s that was abandoned in the mid-1900’s. Bodie State Historic Park is located in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, approximately 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Lake Tahoe (Photo by Joe Wenninger).


NASA Science 2013 Event Planner / Wall Calendar

For this second wall calendar we leave the confines of earth and reach for the stars with the NASA Science 2013: Changing the Way We View the Earth, Our Sun, and the Universe wall calendar.

NASA Science 2013 Calendar front cover

It features a vast array of rare or never-before-seen phenomena as seen from NASA space photography in stunning full color.

In addition to showing U.S. national holidays, the calendar also includes all the moon phases, a nice touch!

NASA Science 2013 Wall Calendar back cover

Image: Back of calendar shows insets of the monthly features, including:

  • a Deep Space Dragonfish nebula;
  • a massive cloud hole over Australia;
  • probing the edge of our atmosphere and jet streams;
  • an untouched crater on the Moon as a potential lunar settlement site;
  • a supernova stellar explosion;
  • blackouts in the East Coast from “derecho” thunderstorms;
  • Astronauts’ view of the Southern Lights that shifted unexpectedly;
  • NASA’s Curiosity rover lands safely on Mars;
  • tracking the fastest moving pulsar ever seen in space;
  • following the “greening” of the desert as Saudi Arabians tap ancient underground Ice Age water reserves;
  • rare “transit” of Venus passing in front of the sun; and
  • mapping impact craters on the planet Mercury.

Source: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory-CalTech.

Space nuts (and “Big Bang Theory” fans) will be thrilled with this large calendar and its fascinating facts and stunning photos about space exploration and space-based science.


U.S. Geological Survey 2013 Event Planner/ Wall Calendar

This year’s U.S. Geological Survey’s calendar gives an eye-catching glimpse into the many facets of USGS and describes how their science is an integral part of decision-making in the U.S. and around the world. This calendar provides a dramatic glimpse at the changing world around us and how U.S. scientists are responding to these changes.

USGS 2013 Calendar front cover

For each month, descriptions of the various USGS service areas are shown along with dramatic full-color photographs or graphics giving timely examples, such as USGS work in: assessing invasive species like the high-leaping Asian carp; studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” on the environment; remote sensing to find precious metals in Afghanistan; tracking flooding such as happened in North Dakota; and mapping earthquakes.

USGS 2013 Calendar Eastern Earthquakes page

Image: The East Coast portion of the USGS National Seismic Hazard map showing all earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater that have been detected since 1974. Certainly those of us in the Washington area felt it keenly when the 5.8 magnitude quake based in Mineral, Virginia, hit on August 23, 2011. Coincidentally, another quake occurred yesterday in the same spot… yikes! Luckily, it was only a 2.0.

This calendar is ideal for anyone interested in natural disasters and earth science, and stumping your friends with interesting science facts!

To learn more about the USGS, you may want to read our earlier blog post, US Geological Survey and the Science of Hurricanes.


How can I buy these wall calendars?

  • Buy them at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.

About the Author:  Michele Bartram is Ecommerce and Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


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