The U.S. & India: Bilateral Buddies

May 23, 2016

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited with President Barack Obama for the first time in September 2014. The bilateral talks between the two heads of state reaffirmed the long-standing alliance between India and the United States. At the conclusion of that historic visit, Modi remarked:

“India and the United States are natural global partners based on our shared values, interests, and strengths in the digital age.  We already have the foundation of a strong partnership.  We now have to revive the momentum and ensure that we get the best out of it for our people and for the world.”

The U.S. Government partners with India to address cross-cutting development challenges and champion innovative, in-country development. One report from U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute reflects upon the strategic cooperation behind this natural friendship.

The U.S.-India Relationship: Cross-Sector Collaboration to Promote Sustainable Development

U.S.-India economic and people-to-people ties are strong and more enmeshed than ever. This volume looks at how both powers are concerned with a broad range of engagement issues: energy, climate change, defense, trade, health, and social innovation. How do these policy priorities fit together for the sake of shared national interests? The answer is cross-sector collaboration—government, private, and civil sectors working transparently on public problems.

008-000-01121-4Over two dozen experienced scholars, businesspeople, and government officials weigh in on the structure, process, and subtleties of cross-sector collaboration with theoretical papers, opinion pieces, and case studies. One contributor, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, argues, “cross-sector collaboration can be particularly fruitful in the interaction of the two great democracies like India and the United States.” But to “make a collaborative initiative successful,” writes Michael J. Frantantuono, the two countries must acknowledge the “necessity of investing time and effort in understanding the partner.”

Another big issue involves the primacy of sustainable development vs. human security. The two don’t vacillate on parallel, separate spectrums. Each concept plays into each other and cannot be detached. Nor should sustainable development and security be promoted at the expense of vulnerable populations. Cross-sector collaboration is presented as a means to reconcile this.

The text’s discourse shows how cross-sector collaboration can be a way forward for sustainable development and security.  And, of course, Obama-Modi diplomacy gives energy and purpose to this joint pursuit. Perhaps, in time, the U.S.-India bilateral relationship can be scaled outward as a model, one that shows how global interdependence confronts the most pressing challenges of our time.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection 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, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


History Squared! A History of Foreign Relations History

May 11, 2016
Department of State headquarters, Washington, DC

Department of State headquarters, Washington, DC

Since the early days of the Republic, Americans have sought an understanding of how their government conducts its diplomatic affairs. Walk into any bookstore and you’ll likely find at least one historical account of U.S. foreign relations. To be sure, there’s a great deal of public fascination with the Department of State–one of the oldest executive branch agencies. And with that sustained interest comes a vigorous debate about the “people’s right to know.”

GPO makes available printed volumes of the U.S. Department of State’s official documentary historical record of major declassified U.S. foreign policy decisions. It’s called the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. Now there’s a history about that history. History squared!

Toward “Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable”: A History of the Foreign Relations of the United States Series

Public law mandates that the State Department document significant foreign policy decisions and actions. It calls for regular installments in a “historical series . . . which shall be a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record.” This record, the FRUS series, comprises more than 450 individual volumes. The Office of the Historian at the State Department is in charge of maintaining the series. Not long ago it tasked a team of world-class historians to pull together a history of the series.

044-000-02676-7The agency’s historian, Stephen P. Randolph, writes in the book’s forward that FRUS “stands as the global gold standard in official documentary history. It is the longest-running public diplomacy program in U.S. history, and the largest and most productive documentary history program in the world.”  FRUS is composed of sub-series for each presidential administration, with volumes representing different areas of the world or foreign policy issues. Although dedicated documentation didn’t begin until the Civil War, the series covers the foundations of foreign policy in the Jeffersonian era and follows the expansionist years, rise of global powers, Cold War containment, and the clash of modern superpowers.

More than just a historical summary, this book is illuminated with touches of drama and humanity. It traces the series’ conversation surrounding the concepts of accountability and security as they relate to statecraft. At the heart of the “struggles define the ‘soul’ ” of this series is the negotiation between secrecy and public-minded openness. This work talks about the controversies and “how American officials drew the boundaries of responsible transparency.” It demystifies the FRUS debates on the evolving relationship between state and society.

Toward “Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable” snapshots not only the content of U.S. government decision making but also the process of bringing potentially sensitive national security and intelligence information to light. To be truly valued and utilized, foreign policy, and its history, needs light. FRUS fulfills a public service. It represents the promise of open democracy and the expectation of citizens to know how their country handles itself beyond the shores.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection 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, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


2015 Counterterrorism Calendar Now Available

January 14, 2015

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has released its annual Counterterrorism Calendar for 2015. This year’s calendar features a few updates, such as the inclusion of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and two women.

2015 Counterterrorism CalendarThe 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.

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 2015 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 160-page 2015 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.

“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-ricin

Image: Photo of castor beans from which the deadly toxin ricin is extracted. Ricin is poisonous if inhaled, injected, or ingested. Source: NCTC 2015 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.”

Image: Extract from the “wanted” page of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaida leader and founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Source: NCTC 2015 Counterterrorism Calendar

Image: Extract from the “wanted” page of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaida leader and founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Source: NCTC 2015 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” 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.

Image: Table from the Bomb Threat Call Procedures form. Source: Page 160 of the 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar.

Image: Table from the Bomb Threat Call Procedures form. Source: Page 160 of the 2015 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.

How can I get a copy of the National Counterterrorism Center’s 2015 Counterterrorism Calendar?

  • Shop Online: You can purchase this calendar from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by:
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection 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, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for it in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the Author: Adapted by Trudy Hawkins, Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, from an original post by Michele Bartram, former Government Book Talk Editor in support of the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


Commemorate the Centennial of the Panama Canal

August 12, 2014
Roosevelt on a digging machine During Construction in 1906 (Library of Congress)

Roosevelt on a digging machine During Construction in 1906 (Library of Congress)

On August 15, 1914 the Panama Canal officially opened, and the SS Ancón was the first vessel to pass through. This August marks the 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal. Congress began to consider a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the 1880s. It was determined essential for commerce and defense. There are several online guides commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Canal. You can follow 100 Days in Honor of 100 Years with a countdown to the anniversary and posts about significant moments in history from the Embassy of the United States in Panama. Also check out the online resource guide from a GPO partner, Panama and the Canal that is a joint project from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and the Panama Canal Museum. It contains a wealth of information about digital history records, maps, and documents. To celebrate the Centennial, University of Florida has put together a Web site about special exhibits and the anniversary.

History

Signing of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty from Embassy of the United States Panama

Signing of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty from Embassy of the United States Panama (http://panama.usembassy.gov)

After much debate on where to build the canal, on February 23, 1904, a Senate Resolution ratified the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, which gave the United States control of the Canal Zone in perpetuity. This overruled an earlier treaty, The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, which was negotiated with the British in 1850 to stop hostilities in Latin America over control of a Canal Zone. That treaty agreed the countries would work together towards the goal of a Canal. (A statue of John Middleton Clayton stands in the U.S. Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.)

Official Panama Canal HandbookOnce Panama was agreed as the location and the U.S. determined to go the project alone, construction continued on an attempt in the 1880s by a French Expedition to build a canal through Panama. An overview of the history of the building of the Canal is available on the U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian Web site.

Some Official Handbooks from early days of the Canal are available online. See the 1913 edition or the 1915 edition available from the depository collection of the University of Florida, or this 1911 edition from the Internet Archive. You can also visit Federal depository libraries nationwide to see what documents are available in their collections.

The Library of Congress Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room provides some links to history and some historic articles about the Canal.

Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos at the ceremony for signing the Panama Canal Treaty (1977) - U.S. Department of State

Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos at the ceremony for signing the Panama Canal Treaty (1977) – U.S. Department of State

The Panama Canal was administered by the United States until 2000 when control was passed back to the Republic of Panama. This was set as an agreement signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, The Panama Canal Treaty and Neutrality Treaty.

Honoring The Past By Building The FutureIn 1989, a publication was produced to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Canal. You can read Honoring the Past by Building the Future: The Panama Canal 75th Anniversary online through GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. It contains some great photographs, and information about the history and vision of the future of the Canal.

Legislation

Several Hearings have been held and legislation passed on Canal construction and management. Hearings about the project have been held in Congress since the beginning in the 1850s. You can visit a Federal depository library to research the legislative history. You’ll find reports such as the 1909 Hearing concerning estimates for construction of the Isthmian Canal, fiscal year 1911.

In 1986, a briefing report was submitted to the House of Representatives from the Government Accountability Office to study alternatives to the Canal in preparation for returning control of the zone to the Republic of Panama. In 1999 a Hearing before the Committee on Armed Forces discussed the Security of the Panama Canal. In 2002 an agreement between the U.S. and Panama was signed to outline response and assistance in responding to environmental issues that would impede trade and commerce in the Canal. A 2014 Hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation discussed what expansion of the Canal will mean for American freight and infrastructure.

The Panama Canal Commission was established in 1979 as an independent agency, purposed with operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The commission was transferred to the Republic of Panama with control of the Canal in 2000. The Federal Register has a list of the Panama Canal Commission publications available in electronic format back to 1994. You can also access some documents in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, such as the Constitutional Title of the Panama Canal and the Organic Law Panama Canal Authority from 1997. Some of the commission reports are also available, such as the 10 year report (1980-1989).

In addition to the Panama Canal Commission records, The National Archives holds many records from the Panama Canal. This blog post from 2013 discusses the employee services records cards collection, and this blog post discusses a component of the personnel files that can be mined for genealogy and other research.

Several amendments and pieces of legislation can be found in the documents at Federal depository libraries, or through a search in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. You could also browse GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). Just last year a resolution was put to the House (H.R. 2760) to celebrate the centennial of the Panama Canal by minting commemorative coins.

GPO’s FDsys has a wide array of documents related to the Canal:

Panama Canal in the Federal Register:

Role in Trade

The Panama Canal has always been intended as an economic resource. You can see from this report, Panama Canal traffic and tolls from 1912 that the value in commerce and trade were at the forefront of reasons for the U.S. to invest in the project. For more about the role of the canal in trade, check out U.S. Free Trade Agreements: 20 Ways to Grow Your Business, available from the GPO Bookstore in print or eBook. It includes a chapter on Panama and discusses trade through the Canal.

This January 2000 report, The Panama Canal in Transition: implications for U.S. Agriculture, discusses the impact of the Canal transition on U.S. Agriculture. The total volume of trade between the U.S. and Panama reached $10.5 Billion in 2012, according to a fact sheet on this important economic partnership from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce article also links to a discussion on the Panama Canal Expansion Project from the Acting Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank.

The U.S. – Panama Trade Promotion Agreement was signed in 2011. It is an expansive free trade agreement and covers trade in goods and services, including financial services. You can read more about the agreement on the Office of the United States Trade Representative Web site. The U.S. Trade Representative Web site has a useful key facts page about U.S. – Panama Relations. The White House Web site also has a fact sheet about U.S. – Panama Relations.

For further reading, see this article in Environmental Health Perspectives from the National Institutes of Health about the Canal Expansion and its impact on Port Cities.

Role in Health

The building of the Panama Canal was a massive undertaking by the United States. A historical vignette from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Web site discusses the project’s chief engineer, George W. Goethais. In addition to feats of engineering, the project involved overcoming the diseases common in tropical regions. You can read about Public Health in Panama in the early 20th Century in this Public Health Report available on PubMed Central, The Public Health Service in the Panama Canal: A Forgotten Chapter of U.S. Public Health. You can also read the 1906 Short Account of the Sanitary Department of the Isthmian Canal Commission from PubMed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a fascinating article about the Panama Canal within its online resource about Malaria.

The Isthmian Canal Commission was created to oversee construction of the Panama Canal. Some of the Reports of the Department of Health of the Panama Canal may be available in Federal depository libraries. Some are also available online. For more about the commission, check out the 1911 publication Executive Orders relating to the Isthmian Canal Commission: March 1904 to June 12, 1911, inclusive. The Commission also authorized schools in the Canal Zone. Check out this Library of Congress finding aid to locate records in those collections about the Isthmian Canal Commission.

Role in War

The Panama Canal is a strategic passage for commerce, but also for military maneuvering by the United States. During times of war, the Canal Zone has been an important passage way and has been strategically guarded by the U.S. Military. The United States Army in World War 2, Western Hemisphere, Guarding the United States and its Outposts includes a section on the role of the Panama Canal in World War 2 and the military efforts to guard this important transportation and commercial outpost.

Submarines in the Panama Canal (1914-1918) - North Carolina Digital Collections

Submarines in the Panama Canal (1914-1918) – North Carolina Digital Collections

Construction of the Panama Canal included immense effort from the U.S. Military. The Panama Canal: An Army’s Enterprise is available in Paperback and ePub from the GPO Bookstore. This pamphlet describes the military history of the Canal and the efforts of Army officers to bring the Canal to completion.

The future of the Canal

Image of the Panama Canal Today (Department of Transportation)

Image of the Panama Canal Today (Department of Transportation)

The Panama Canal is undergoing an expansion, set to be completed in 2015. The U.S. Department of Transportation released a report in 2013, Panama Canal Expansion Phase 1 Report: Developments of Trade and National and Global Economies. This article from the U.S. Department of Transportation provides a short summary of the report. You can read more about the expansion project from the Canal De Panamà Web site.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy featured publications in this article (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Click Here to Purchase The Panama Canal: An Army’s Enterprise

Click Here to Purchase United States Army in World War 2, Western Hemisphere, Guarding the United States and Its Outposts

Click Here to Purchase U.S. Free Trade Agreements: 20 Ways to Grow Your Business

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection 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, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for these in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the author: Cathy Wagner is an outreach librarian with the Education & Outreach team in the Library Services & Content Management (LSCM) division at the Government Printing Office.


“Now You’re Speaking My Language”: Teaching English as a Second Language in the U.S. and Abroad

January 31, 2014

Teaching-American-English-wordleThe English language, according to Wikipedia, is the third-most-common native language in the world after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish and is the most widely learned second language. Not only is it widely used in technology and entertainment, it is also an official language of the European Union, many British Commonwealth countries and the United Nations, as well as in many international organizations.

The U.S. Department of State recognizes that promoting the learning and teaching of English as a foreign or second language both within the United States and around the world is an essential step towards increasing cultural understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries.  The Department of State created the Office of English Language Programs, under the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to encourage English language education for non-native English speakers.

As a former Business English professor for Spanish Masters of Marketing graduate students in Spain and a volunteer tutor for young Hispanic ESL (English as a Second Language) students in the United States, I had a hard time finding resources for my students or connecting with other teachers with whom I could exchange best practices and ideas for lesson plans that took into account the cultural differences of non-native speakers,” says Michele Bartram, Government Book Talk Editor and Promotions and Ecommerce Manager for GPO’s U.S. Government Online Bookstore.

English Teaching Forum, the quarterly journal for professionals teaching ESL or EFL English as a Foreign or Second Language, published by the U.S. State Department's Office of English Language ProgramsFortunately, the State Department’s Office of English Language Programs publishes the English Teaching Forum, a quarterly journal that serves as a resource for professionals teaching English as a foreign or second language all over the globe. This publication connects teachers of English as a second language across the many countries in which they are teaching by allowing them to submit articles and share their experiences working towards their common goal of helping others learn the English language worldwide. In fact, the majority of articles featured in the English Teaching Forum are authored by English language classroom teachers. Each new issue of the journal has a distribution of over 85,000 copies across more than 130 countries!

Teachers of English as a second language will find a number of useful articles in the pages of the English Teaching Forum. Topics covered in this quarterly publication include classroom language learning activities, teaching methods and tools, informational articles on potential teaching topics related to American culture, and understanding the needs of the diverse group of students that these teachers encounter.

In the most recent issue of the English Teaching Forum (Volume 51, Number 4, 2013), “Raising Cultural Awareness in the English Language Classroom” tackles the question of how to introduce American sociocultural elements into the language curriculum to enhance the students’ ability to grasp the cultural nuances of the language. It has been said that students cannot master a foreign language without understanding the cultural context in which the language is spoken, and in this article, author Jerrold Frank explores this theory and suggests methods of introducing cultural lessons to language students.

Another particularly interesting feature from English Teaching Forum can be found in Volume 50, Number 1, 2012, in the article “A Call to Service”  by William P. Ancker, which introduces an interview with Dr. James Alatis, a leader in the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) community. The interview with Dr. Alatis, originally conducted in 2004 but reprinted in this issue in honor of the English Teaching Forum’s 50th anniversary, follows this introduction.

The journal even includes classroom exercises and printables, such as this fun quiz displaying the confusion caused by English-language homophones–words that are spelled differently but are pronounced similarly (like there and their).

ETF_Lighter-Side_Homophones-QuizImage: Speak and Spell Quiz from English Teaching Forum 2012, Volume 50, Number 3. See answers at bottom of the post.

If you are a teacher or a student of English as a foreign or second language, or even if you just find language and learning to be topics of interest to you, US-State-Department-American-English-Mobile-Appthe English Teaching Forum is a worthwhile publication to explore!

For more resources for teachers of American English, visit the State Department’s American English website, including downloading their new American English Mobile App for both teachers and students.

How do I subscribe to English Teaching Forum: A Journal for the Teacher of English Outside the United States?

About the Authors: Stephanie Jaeger is Sales & Marketing Coordinator for GPO’s Sales & Marketing Division that markets GPO’s publishing services to the Federal sector. Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions and Ecommerce 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.

Answers to The Lighter Side “Speak and Spell” homophones quiz from above:

Answers-to-Homophones-Quiz 


Understand How the U.S. Government is Organized

January 13, 2014

The United States Government Manual 2013

United States US Government Manual 2013 ISBN: 9780160919510 Available from http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/069-000-00216-1?ctid=38The Government Manual is an essential guide to the United States Federal Government, where one can find the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and information on every U.S. Government agency. This official handbook on the Federal Government is published annually by the National Archives and Record Administration’s Office of the Federal Register.

Two years ago, Government Book Talk featured the Government Manual with the post “Browsing the Government Manual”. Here, we will take another look at this ultimate resource on the U.S. Government.

The 2013 Government Manual begins with the country’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and then goes on to profile each agency, quasi-official agency, international organization in which the United States participates, board, commission, and committee found in the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of the U.S. Government. The profiles include:

  • Organizational charts
  • List of principal officials
  • Summary statement of the agency’s purpose and role in the Federal Government
  • Brief history of the agency, including its legislative or executive authority
  • Description of its programs and activities
  • Information on consumer activities, contracts and grants, employment, publications, and contact information.

This organizational structure is beneficial for large executive branch agencies that have several departments each with their own mission and function.  For example, 20 pages of the manual are devoted to the nearly 40 different divisions, offices, and bureaus that make up the Department of Justice, which seems complex but pales in comparison to the Department of Defense and its behemoth structure.

The Government Manual concludes with the History of Agency Organization Structures. This section of the manual is arguably the highlight of this publication, as it provides a history of the lifetime and timeline of each agency as the U.S. Government grows with the country. For example, the Bureau of Immigration was created in 1891 as a branch of the Department of Treasury and cycled through to the Department of Commerce and Labor, the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and finally, after losing its name but keeping its functions, landed in the newly established Department of Homeland Security in 2002.

The Government Manual is not only a great resource on the United States Federal government and its functions, but also a goldmine of new information and interesting facts that are not commonly known about the U.S. Government and the country’s history.  So, if you would like  to understand how the U.S. Government is organized, then this is the book for you!

How can I get a copy of “The United States Government Manual 2013”?

About the Author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. Additional content provided by Stephanie Jaeger, Sales & Marketing Coordinator for GPO’s Sales & Marketing Division and is responsible for marketing GPO’s publishing services to the Federal sector.


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.


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