War Games

May 11, 2012

Our Guest Blogger—GPO’s Public Relations Specialist  Emma Wojtowicz—takes a look at the U.S. Naval War College publication on war gaming.

This recently reprinted publication from 1966 has not only been reborn, but has also received a face lift to make it look like the relevant book it still is today. Do not let its age fool you.

Fundamentals of War Gaming is a third edition reprinted publication by the United States Naval War College that explores the history and practice of war gaming.

To put it simply, war gaming is like the game of chess. This book applies the chess board to war scenarios exposing readers to the fundamentals of war gaming. Chess pros learn how their skills can be adapted to conceptualize military operations and novices receive an introduction on the theories and practice of war gaming.

War gaming is more prevalent in today’s society than one might think and I am not talking about war-related video games.

A few examples include:

  • The recent one year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden reminds us of the news coverage from last year that detailed the way Navy Seals prepared for the mission. Creating a replica of bin Laden’s compound and practicing and simulating different scenarios is the practice of war gaming.
  • For fans of the Hunger Games books and movie, the hunger games tributes strategize how to use the skills to eliminate their opponents and the game makers use their futuristic technology to manipulate the tributes to do and go where they want them and that is war gaming.
  • Perhaps the best example of war gaming is in an episode of the television series the West Wing. President Bartlett is playing chess with Sam Seaborn and he equates the game of chess to a military situation that he is confronting in the Taiwan Strait. President Bartlett repeats, “see the whole board,” “look at the whole board” which is crucial when playing the game of chess and when strategizing for diplomatic and military situations or war gaming.

Figure: 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in Iraq with giant chess set. — 8 October 2005. Source: SoldierChess.org, a charity that sends free chess sets to deployed troops

History and popular culture has familiarized us with the concept of war gaming, but the publication Fundamentals of War Gaming provides a broader picture. Before World War II, the Naval War College relied on manual games such as chess and other board games to train and prepare officers.

One chapter in the book is dedicated to the history of chess and war gaming focusing on the use of war gaming by individual countries as well as the Naval War College. World War II and the various types of warfare used during the war led to the need for more sophisticated ways of training.

The development of computers, in as early as the 1950s, changed the war gaming methods from manual to simulated gaming using NEWS, or the Navy Electronic Warfare Simulator.


Image: NEWS or Navy Electronic War Simulator. Source: Defence Talk

Fundamentals of War Gaming contains various charts and graphs depicting the statistical methods of war gaming and also historic photographs showing the evolution of war gaming from life-size chess boards to giant computer simulators.

This well-rounded portrayal of war gaming appeals to a large audience from math-oriented chess fans to history buffs. It may be an older publication, but it is still an interesting read and relevant today. Like I said, don’t let its age fool you.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS “The United States Naval War College Fundamentals of War Gaming”?

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library.

Uncle Sam wants to help you… get a job

May 4, 2012

If you are one of the millions of Americans hunting for a job, the U.S. Government wants you… to be prepared for the job search.

According to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on April 10, 2012, called “Job Openings and Labor Turnover – February 2012”, the number of job openings has been climbing:

The number of job openings in the United States in February 2012 was 3.5 million…  Although the number of job openings remained below the 4.3 million openings when the recession began in December 2007, the number of job openings has increased 46 percent since the end of the recession in June 2009.

Image: Uncle Sam: “I want you to get a real job” poster. Source: SF Weekly

And today’s numbers from the Labor Department showed that the U.S. economy added 115,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent.

Together with graduating college and high school seniors, this makes this a prime time for many Americans to start or re-start their job search.

Fortunately, the Federal Government has produced a number of helpful job and employment publications and resources to help you find that job, from researching careers, industries and salaries, to preparing resumes, writing cover letters and honing your interviewing skills.

Step 1: Identify the Right Career for You

Many job hunters have had to leave their original profession due to changes in the marketplace. To help them identify what types of jobs are out there and what skills are needed, here are some Federal publications:

  Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 (Paperback)
The must-have book for every career counselor, The Occupational Outlook Handbook is exceedingly useful for job hunters, particularly those who are changing careers or in an industry that is undergoing transition. It describes about 250 occupations in detail, covering what the types of tasks workers do on a particular type of job, the working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects.
  High-Earning Workers Who Don’t Have A Bachelor’s Degree
This publication is still valid today, as it reviews occupations that earn relatively high salaries without requiring expensive college degrees. Ranges from accountants, to plumbers and electricians, repair people and mechanics, registered nurses and health technicians, managers and supervisors of all types, and more. Gives percentages of these that do not have bachelor’s degrees and typical weekly earnings (circa 1999).

Additional information on job training can be found at CareerOneStop’s Explore Careers section.

Step 2:  Determine Whether You Should Get Additional Education and Training

Many job seekers need to acquire new skills or update their existing skills to become or stay competitive. These publications talk about the value of training

  What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2001
If you’ve ever doubted the value of education on your earning potential, the Census Bureau assembled these figures on what additional training is worth to one’s economic status and earnings.
  Apprenticeships: Career Training, Credentials, and a Paycheck in Your Pocket
Some professions require going through apprenticeship training. This publication explains how apprenticeship works, listing apprenticeable occupations, and the years of training estimated for each occupation.

Additional information and resources about job-related education and training can be found at CareerOneStop’s Education & Training section.

Step 3: Preparing Your Work Credentials and Interviewing Skills

The next step is to hone your credentials and interviewing skills for the active job search. The following excellent publications and resources will help you ensure you put your best foot forward.

  Resumes, Applications, and Cover Letters
With this update of a popular publication, you will find out the best ways to present your credentials to prospective employers. Illustrations include a sample chronological resume, a sample functional resume, and a sample cover letter. The ‘for more information’ section lists some useful, established websites that contain advice about 21st century job hunting and resume writing.
  Getting Back to Work: Returning to the Labor Force After an Absence
Many job seekers today have what is called an imperfect employment history due to layoffs, underemployment or other career gaps. This publication helps these returning workers know what to do and what to expect when returning to the labor force can help ease the transition back to work. Part 1 offers tips on how to identify, and prepare for, your ideal job. Part 2 helps you get set for the workforce. Part 3 suggests ways to maintain work-life balance. In sidebars throughout the article, you’ll find suggestions for some special re-entry situations as well as lists of additional resources.
  Employment Interviewing: Seizing the Opportunity and the Job
This booklet gives useful advice on what to do before, during, and after a job interview to help you get that job. It also includes tips about job fairs.

Additional information and resources about resumes, interviewing and job-related education and training can be found at CareerOneStop’s Resumes + Interviews section.

Step 4: Start Your Job Search

Federal Government Jobs:

A useful publication for anyone seeking to apply for a Federal government job is “How to Get a Job in the Federal Government”. Read our previous blog post about this publication, entitled “Information about Getting a Federal Government Job”.

Once you are ready to apply, you can find all current Federal jobs openings on the Federal job site, USAJobs.gov.

Private Sector and State Government Jobs:

Information and resources about where and how to conduct your job hunt can be found at CareerOneStop’s Job Search section.

Step 5:  Research Typical Salary and Benefits

Hopefully, at this point you are receiving job offers and negotiating salary and benefits. These Federal publications can give you some ballpark figures of salaries for various occupations as well as unemployment laws in different states.

  National Compensation Survey: Occupational Earnings in the United States, 2006
This Multimedia booklet and CD-ROM report on earnings for occupations common to a wide variety of establishments. Coverage includes office clerical, professional and technical, maintenance, custodial and material movement occupations.
  Occupational Employment and Wages, 2006
This guide provides occupational employment and wage data from across the United States.
  Employment and Wages Annual Averages, 2005
This Multimedia booklet and CD-ROM present 2005 employment and wages data as defined in the North American Industry Classification System. Data pertain to workers covered by State unemployment insurance laws and the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) program in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
  Comparison of State Unemployment Insurance Laws, 2005
This valuable publication provides state-by-state information on workers covered by unemployment insurance, benefit eligibility, methods of financing, and other areas of interest in the unemployment insurance program

More information and resources about salary and benefits can be found at CareerOneStop’s Salary + Benefits section and the Publications section of the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Other Federal Job Hunting Resources:

  • Occupational Outlook Quarterly – This periodical subscription service offered by the Government Printing Office is issued quarterly by the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides current information on employment trends and outlook, supplementing and bringing up to date information in Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • CareerOneStop: The Labor Department has created an excellent website for American job seekers. Called CareerOneStop.org, this job hunting portal helps you find the information and resources you need about careers, training, educational financial aid, job banks and more.
    • It also has a Service Locator to help all job seekers and the unemployed find Federal, state and local employment resources in your area.
    • Veterans now can find job-hunting help at their Veterans ReEmployment initiatives section.

How Can I Obtain the Publications Mentioned in this Post?  

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


Goodbye GPO Access, Hello FDsys

March 16, 2012

Guest blogger Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division, writes about the final switchover from GPO Access to FDsys, GPO’s state-of-the-art digital database of Federal information.

Farewell, GPO Access! GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) is here to stay and is better than ever.

Today, March 16, 2012, marks a momentous occasion for the Government Printing Office and its groundbreaking service, GPO Access. After 16 years of keeping America informed, the GPO Access website is shutting down and been replaced by its successor, GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).

Image: Switchover notice from GPO Access to FDsys

All of the information the public had access to on GPO Access and more is available through FDsys (pronounced by “those in the know” as “F – D – sis”).

While not the traditional “Government book” discussed on this blog, we at GPO thought it only appropriate to blog about a service that provides free access to a vast number of Federal Government publications. FDsys provides the American public with free online access to about 50 different collections of U.S. Government information ranging from the Code of Federal Regulations to the U.S. Government Manual to the U.S. Budget.

Image: GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) home page, www.FDsys.gov

GPO Access introduced electronic access to Government information

In 1993, Congress passed the U.S. Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act (Public Law 103-40), which expanded GPO’s mission to provide access to Federal Government information not only in print, but also electronically. In June 1994, in response to that legislation, GPO launched GPO Access.

FDsys takes electronic access to new levels

Even the best of information systems have to evolve. Thus it was in January 2009 that GPO unveiled the next generation of Government information online with FDsys. The countdown to the shut-down of GPO Access began on December 20, 2010, when FDsys became GPO’s official system of record for free access to information and publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. In November 2011, GPO Access entered its “archive only” state and transitioned its status to historical reference archive. From that point forward, FDsys was GPO’s only resource for access to current, updated information, and now, GPO Access has shut down for good.

Image: FDSys Advanced Search results page

FDsys offers new, improved features to find Government publications

FDsys boasts key enhancements to GPO Access that allow users from librarians to scholars, researchers, lawyers and the public to:

  • Easily search across multiple Government publications;
  • Perform advanced searches against robust metadata about each publication;
  • Construct complex search queries;
  • Refine and narrow searches;
  • Retrieve individual Government documents and publications in seconds directly from each search result;
  • View more information about a publication and access multiple file formats for each search result;
  • Access metadata in standard XML formats;
  • Download content and metadata packaged together as a single ZIP file;
  • Browse FDsys alphabetically by collection, by Congressional committee, by date, and by Government author; and
  • Utilize extensive help tools and tutorials.

Image: List of collections of Federal Government publications available on FDSys

Links to printed versions of Government publications

In addition to providing free access to almost 50 different Government publications online, FDsys also directs you to GPO’s Online Bookstore, where you can buy those same publications, if you wish to have a bound and printed official copy.

As a GPO employee who has worked extensively with FDsys, I think you will really enjoy it and the new, enhanced features that are provided by FDsys for navigating Government information.

How do I find Federal Government publications?

  • Search GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) at www.FDsys.gov.
  • Search GPO’s Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) at http://catalog.gpo.gov.
  • Shop GPO’s Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov/, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
  • Visit GPO’s Retail Bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays. Call (202) 512-0132 for more information.

CIA’s World Factbook: Global intelligence for every thinker, traveler, soldier, spy

January 27, 2012

A great publication not only provides timely and valuable information, but it also allows us a glimpse into the times and events that necessitated its production.

Such is the case with the CIA’s World Factbook—which marks its 50th anniversary in 2012 for the classified version and over 40 years for the public version described here— and shows us a glimpse into how Pearl Harbor and the Cold War changed the way America began to gather information about all corners of the globe.

The Factbook has its origins in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the realization by Congress and the White House that lack of coordinated intelligence across all Governmental departments had left the United States woefully unprepared for the attack, and determined to correct this as a national security necessity and priority.  According to the CIA historians:

During World War II, intelligence consumers realized that the production of basic intelligence by different components of the US Government resulted in a great duplication of effort and conflicting information.

Detailed and coordinated information was needed not only on such major powers as Germany and Japan, but also on places of little previous interest. In the Pacific Theater, for example, the Navy and Marines had to launch amphibious operations against many islands about which information was unconfirmed or nonexistent.

Image above: During WWII, OSS intelligence reviewed existing maps with the military. Source: Top Secret Writers

JANIS Drops In

To correct this deficiency, in 1943, General George B. Strong (G-2), Admiral H. C. Train (Office of Naval Intelligence – known as ONI), and General William J. Donovan (Director of the Office of Strategic Services – known as OSS, the precursor of the CIA) oversaw the formation of a Joint Intelligence Study Publishing Board to assemble, edit, coordinate, and publish the Joint Army Navy Intelligence Studies (JANIS).

JANIS was the first cross-departmental basic intelligence program to fulfill the needs of the US Government for an authoritative and coordinated appraisal of strategic basic intelligence.

All groups involved in the war agreed that finished basic intelligence was required that covered territories around the world where the war was being fought. They needed detailed, up-to-date maps and geography; basic understanding of the cultural, economical, political and historical issues of the people and the region.

Compiling and publishing this information for the Allied intelligence needs, JANIS became an indispensable reference for war planning and execution.

The Cold War Gives Birth to the CIA… and the National Intelligence Survey

But the Cold War that immediately followed World War II showed that there was just as much need for continued intelligence gathering as ever. In the 1946 publication “The Future of American Secret Intelligence,” national security author George S. Petee wrote: “The conduct of peace involves all countries, all human activities – not just the enemy and his war production.”

In acknowledgement of this, the Congress established the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947 which immediately took over responsibility for JANIS. The next year, the National Security Council authorized the National Intelligence Survey program as a peacetime replacement for the wartime JANIS program. By 1955, the Hoover Commission evaluating the CIA advised Congress that: “The National Intelligence Survey [NIS] is an invaluable publication which provides the essential elements of basic intelligence on all areas of the world. There will always be a continuing requirement for keeping the Survey up-to-date.

The Sum of All Facts: The World Factbook

Subsequently, the World Factbook was created as an “annual summary and update to the encyclopedic NIS studies.

Originally published only as a classified publication starting a half century ago in August 1962 (just prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962), the World Factbook was first published in its declassified version for public consumption in June 1971, 40 years ago.

Image: CIA map produced for President Kennedy’s team estimating the range of Soviet missiles being set up in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. Source: Canadian History Portal

Today’s World Factbook is the declassified version of the finished basic intelligence compiled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and coordinated across all the U.S. intelligence community. It uses only recognized, authoritative sources, not only CIA-gathered intelligence, but also a wide variety of U.S. Government agencies from the National Security Agency, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Agriculture, Defense Intelligence Agency, and hundreds of other published sources around the world.

Printed Version Provides an Annual Snapshot

Once a year, the Government Printing Office takes a snapshot of this information from the CIA as of January 1 and produces a printed version of the World Factbook. It provides unparalleled and succinct information about hundreds of countries in a format that provides an easy-to-use comparison.The Factbook has been available from GPO since 1975.

The 2011 version just published provides a two- to three-page summary of the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities, including U.S.-recognized countries, dependencies, and other areas in the world.

Each country has its own basic map and shows its flag, but of particular interest are the maps of the major world regions, as well three pull-out maps included in the publication: Physical Map of the World, Political Map of the World, and Standard Time Zones of the World Map, all of which can be used as wall maps.

Who Can Benefit from the World Factbook?

A perennial best seller in the GPO bookstore, The World Factbook is used by not only US Government officials, but is a must-have reference for researchers, news organizations, businesses, geographers, international travelers, teachers, professors, librarians, and students.

In short, after 40 years, the World Factbook is still the best source of  up-to-date, summarized intelligence about the world for any “thinker, traveler, soldier, or spy” of any age!

Image: Pupils at Crosby’s Valewood Primary School near Liverpool, England, dress up as ‘Spies’ as part of a creative project. Photographer: Andrew Teebay. Source: Liverpool Echo

To gather your own up-to-date intelligence about the world we live in, you can obtain the World Factbook 2011 at one of these locations:

How can you get this publication?

  • Buy the current version of the World Factbook and selected previous editions online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a library.

Some Interesting “DID YOU KNOW?” Facts related to the CIA’s World Factbook:

  • Question: What separates “intelligence” from “information”?
    • Answer: According to the CIA: The Intelligence Cycle is the process by which information is acquired, converted into intelligence, and made available to policymakers. Information is raw data from any source, data that may be fragmentary, contradictory, unreliable, ambiguous, deceptive, or wrong. Intelligence is information that has been collected, integrated, evaluated, analyzed, and interpreted. Finished intelligence is the final product of the Intelligence Cycle ready to be delivered to the policymaker.

The three types of finished intelligence are: basic, current, and estimative. Basic intelligence provides the fundamental and factual reference material on a country or issue.

  • Question: “Why is the British Labour Party misspelled?”
    • Answer: When American and British spellings of common English words differ, The World Factbook always uses the American spelling, even when these common words form part of a proper name in British English.
  • Question: “What is a ‘doubly landlocked’ country and which are the only two in the world?”
    • Answer: A doubly landlocked country is one that is separated from an ocean or an ocean-accessible sea by two intervening countries. Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein are the only countries that fit this definition.
  • Question: “Why does the Factbook use metric units, even though Americans still use traditional units of measure like feet, pounds, and Fahrenheit?”
    • Answer: US Federal agencies are required by the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 (Public Law 94-168) and by Executive Order 12770 of July 1991 to use the International System of Units, commonly referred to as the metric system or SI. In addition, the metric system is used by over 95 percent of the world’s population.
  • Question: “Why is the European Union listed at the end of the Factbook entries? It’s not a country!”
    • Answer:  The European Union (EU) is not a country, but it has taken on many nation-like attributes and these may be expanded in the future. A more complete explanation on the inclusion of the EU into the Factbook can be found in the Preliminary statement.

About the Author:  Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (Bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public. She’s a big fan of the National Spy Museum and of spy movies, which she is going to enjoy for her birthday tomorrow.


Beauty and the Best- Two calendars inspire New Year’s resolutions

January 18, 2012

In January of every year, people around the world find themselves making their New Year’s resolution. However, resolutions that come from the Government tend to be about serious topics like laws or declaring war. Case in point: George Washington himself famously said in a letter in 1775 justifying the American colony’s inevitable steps toward declaring independence: “We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”

Thus, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that the Federal Government can also help us with some of our personal resolutions as well. The most popular personal resolutions tend to be about getting fit, or finding more time to “stop and smell the roses” by relaxing and enjoying the beauty around us.

With their decorative and inspiring calendars for 2012, the National Park Service and the Marine Corps are ensuring that we can meet both these New Year’s resolutions with showing us both “Beauty” and “The Best”.


The National Historic Landmark 2012 Event Planner Calendar

This 12-month wall calendar / event planner from The National Park Service features the winning photographs from their Twelfth Annual National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Photo Contest.

According to the contest rules, these original photos have to be “fantastic photographs that illustrate the significance of any of the over 2,500 National Historic Landmarks, our nation’s most significant treasures”.  One beautiful image from each National Park Service region and a stunning national winner were all chosen last fall from thousands of submissions for inclusion in this 2012 calendar, with the winning photograph gracing the cover.

The winning cover photo (shown above) by photographer Eric Vondy was of National Historic Landmark Pecos Pueblo, in South of Pecos, New Mexico. Park Service judges described it:

This evocative photograph inspires the imagination, yet this site’s real history is legendary. Led by an Indian guide called “The Turk,” famous Spanish explorer Coronado and his men set out from this pueblo to search for Quivira, one of the legendary “Seven Cities of Gold.” Abandoned in 1838, today the site, east of Santa Fe, is managed by Pecos National Historical Park.

   

Calendar Images: (Left) 1895 lumber schooner C.A. Thayer, San Francisco, California. Photographer: John Conway.  (Right) Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, Missouri. Photographer: Judy Hitzeman.

Want to see your photo win next year? If you’re a photographer, amateur or professional, you can participate in their next annual National Park Service photo contest. Read the details on their  Annual National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Photo Contest web site.

How do I get this 2012 National Historic Landmarks Photo Contest event planner calendar?

  • UPDATE AS OF 1/19/2012:  Due to the overwhelming customer response to this blog post, unfortunately GPO has sold out of its remaining stock of this calendar! If more should become available, we will update this post.

However, feel free to enjoy the beautiful images from the calendar on the National Park Service’s FlickR page for the National Historic Landmarks 2011 Photo Contest Winners.


Marine Corps Special Issue Semper Fit Sports Calendar 2011-2012

The second wall calendar is even more surprising and very inspiring as well to those who are resolved to living a healthier lifestyle through fitness.

Issued by Marines Magazine, the Marine Corps’ Official Magazine, this colorful 17-month Sports Calendar (August 2011 – December 2012) recognizes some of the outstanding athlete “leathernecks” who participate in the Marine Corps’ “Semper Fit” sports, recreation and fitness program worldwide.  (“Semper Fit” is a nod to the Marine Corps motto of “Semper Fi” short for “Semper Fidelis” which is Latin for “Always Faithful” or “Always Loyal”).

One Marine base describes the Semper Fit program:

The mission at Semper Fit is to conduct, encourage and inspire the quality of life programs for that promote Healthy Lifestyles through recreation, athletics, physical fitness, the Single Marine Program and other health and wellness activities for Marine Corps active and retired members, their families and civilian workers.

The photographs on this calendar depict everything from individual sports such as the famous Marine Corps Marathon held annually in Washington, DC, and aerial motorcycle tricks…

   

Calendar Images: (Left) Start of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. (Right) Motorbike aerialist and member of the “Metal Mulisha Troops” Marine stunt team.

…to intramural and varsity sports like baseball, basketball, wrestling, tug-of-war, the Dragon Boat Race, and the Warrior Games.

 

Calendar Images: (Left) Tug-of-war competition at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. (Right) All-Marine team of active duty and veteran “wounded warriors” at opening ceremony of the all Armed Forces Warrior Games.

Many of the athletes included are recognized globally for their athletic ability, and others are Marines who stay at the top of their game no matter their age or disability, maintaining the extremely high physical fitness standards of the Corps.

The calendar also includes Federal holidays and key dates of significance to the Corps.

The Father of Semper Fit retires

Ironically, last month after nearly 36 years of service as a Marine officer and a civilian whose final role was as Quantico’s head of recreation, Chris D’Orazio, the founder of the Semper Fit program retired.

Image: Col. Dan Choike, base commander, presents Chris D’Orazio, head of recreation, a challenge coin during D’Orazio’s retirement ceremony in the Main Ballroom at the Clubs of Quantico on Dec. 5, 2011. Source: Quantico Sentry newspaper

In an interview for the Quantico Sentry, D’Orazio explained how the Semper Fit program concept came to him back in 1985, D’Orazio when he read an article about the low life expectancy of retired Marines, whether officer or enlisted:

 “Marines, especially back then, played hard, worked hard, drank hard and smoked hard,” said D’Orazio. “I looked out the window and saw a young Marine put out a cigarette, finish a can of beer, then walk back inside the building.”

“I look down and thought to myself, based on this article, this guy’s going to live less than five years after he retires,” D’Orazio said. “After a career and everything they’ve worked for, they are probably going to die that soon; that’s terrible. That was pretty much the genesis of the word ‘Semper Fit.’”

In addition to the “Semper Fit” program for USMC, D’Orazio started the “Getting Stronger, Now” fitness program for the state of Maryland, both of which were pilot fitness programs under the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

This 2012 Semper Fit calendar is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to, well, fitness!

And the photos are pretty inspiring to hang on anyone’s wall, too!

Calendar Image: Marines compete in the 37th annual Naha Dragon Boat Race in Naha, Japan.

How do I get this Marine Corps 2012 Semper Fit Sports calendar?

  • Buy it online 24/7 at GPO’s Online Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.

So whether you aspire to find more beauty in the world around you or to be the best you can be, the Government is here to help you out!

Resolve to have a safe and happy 2012, America!


Steve Jobs and our Innovation Nation

October 11, 2011

Last week we lost one of America’s great geniuses of innovation, Apple’s founder and CEO, Steve Jobs.

I can remember each time I first used one of Apple’s products. While working for IBM as a systems engineer right out of college and working with both mainframe systems and some not-always-so-friendly early PC operating systems (remember DOS?), I got to use a friend’s Macintosh and was blown away by how easy it was to use. Fast forward through the introduction of the iPod; iTunes online music and apps store; the iPhone—the first touchscreen smartphone; and now the iPad, first touchscreen tablet; and we now have a world that couldn’t conceive of life without Steve Jobs’ innovations.

One of Jobs’ secret to success was treating Apple as an idea and business incubator to continually research and fund what could possibly be the “next great thing” in the future, but was still only a germ of an idea from some engineer or scientist.

The Federal Government as an Incubator of Innovation

Like Apple, one of the key roles of the US Federal Government is to serve as an incubator of innovation.

Here at GPO, for example, we are embracing innovation by producing eBooks, digital downloads, information portals and databases in response to the changing needs of our increasingly digital society, which have been driven in part by Apple inventions introduced by Steve Jobs.

Most of the work products from the Federal Government can be and are used freely by private industry or other areas of Government to spur their own innovations. From statistics to research, processes to products, the Government has provided the seeds to innovation for American industry throughout the years.

Looking through our recent catalog on the US Government Bookstore website, I came across these publications which provide examples of innovation both within the Federal Government and in partnership with the private sector:

 
  • Spinoff Innovative Partnerships Program 2009, provides an in-depth look at how NASA’s initiatives in aeronautics and space exploration have resulted in beneficial commercial technologies in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental protection, computer technology and industrial productivity.  Some innovation spinoffs over the years include:
    • lightweight breathing system adapted for firefighters;
    • Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric for astronaut spacesuits is now used as a permanent roofing material for buildings and stadiums;
    • remote-controlled robotic arms are now being used for robotic surgical operations; and
    • artificial heart pump based on the design of NASA’s space shuttle main engine fuel pumps.
    • You can get a print copy of this book now at the US Government Bookstore or find it in a library.
 
 

About the Author:  I am Michele Bartram, Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division.  My duties include marketing for the US Government Online Bookstore (Bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public. Due to the retirement of Jim Cameron, my duties now also include taking the helm as Blogger for Government Book Talk. I have been in the Internet marketing and ecommerce field for over 15 years.

We at GPO wish Jim all the best in his retirement, and will continue to do our best to spotlight the amazing variety of Government publications and their impact on ourselves and our world – and have fun while doing it.

 



The Best Government Publications – 2011 Edition

May 31, 2011

Anyone interested in Government publications should find something of interest in Library Journal’s Notable Government Documents for 2011. It’s sort of the Pulitzer Prize list for the kind of things we like to read around here. For Government Book Talk fans – and I know you’re out there – some of the titles will sound familiar from my past blog posts: Afghanistan: Alone and Unafraid, The Battle Behind Bars, Deep Water, The Financial Inquiry Crisis Report, Memorial Addresses and Other Tributes…in Honor of Edward M. Kennedy, and A Photographer’s Path. I’ll be writing about others, like Bee Basics: an Introduction to Our Native Bees, as soon as I can.

There are also some interesting-sounding state publications in this Notable Documents list, like Palaces on the Prairie, from North Dakota. It focuses on “one of the ways community leaders elevated themselves: constructing palaces decorated with the grains or minerals that would best promote the businesses and products of their towns.” I love quirky-sounding books like this and lament the passing of such architectural gems. But what would you expect from someone who remembers the Flagship restaurant on Route 22 in Union, New Jersey? Yes it was (and is, the last time I heard) a building shaped like ship. Hey, I can’t help liking such things; I’m from the Garden State!

But I digress. The Notable Docs list also features international publications, like the World Atlas of Mangroves and Gender, Women, and the Tobacco Epidemic. I’d love to get into all of these here, but I have enough on my hands trying to cover the Federal part of the publishing spectrum!

Some of the publications are free, some cost money, and many are on line, but they all sound worthwhile. Notable Government Documents for 2011 is a great place to find some of the best publications the public sector has to offer.

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A Teen Survival Guide – for Parents, Too!

January 26, 2011

Guest blogger Ingrid Reyes-Arias remembers a Government publication that has good information for teenagers and parents alike.

Sometimes growing up can be a scary thing, and rearing a child can be scary, too.  As part of my undergraduate career, I devoted a lot of my research time to family and public health issues. With the plethora of information out there, it’s difficult to discern the age-appropriate and accurate health facts.  For my part, I relied heavily on many Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publications because I knew they were trustworthy and up to date.    

During one of my research efforts, I came across an interesting document from the HHS Office of Women’s Health.  It’s called Teen Survival Guide: Health Tips for On-The-Go Girls.  I used the information in it to give a class on women’s health to several teenage girls.  This guide was extremely helpful when discussing such important topics as reproductive health.   

The first portion of the Survival Guide is “Taking care of your reproductive health,” which includes discussions about the body, sexually transmitted diseases, and advice on seeing your doctor.  The guide also provides recommendations on personal hygiene, exercise tips, tips on healthy eating habits, adverse effects of drug usage, self-esteem and relationship counseling, and advice on future planning – all of which are very important in the life of a teenager. 

This guide is very practical and includes interactive quizzes, real life questions and answers, resources related to the different topics at the end of the sections, and a glossary for many of the medical terms.  The ease of interactivity allows for successful teaching of facts to a class, or even to your own child.  As parents, this can be a tough topic with plenty of tough moments, so having a special guide will allow for a more neutral encounter with your child.

Take advantage of the Teen Survival Guide. You can also find it in a library. It will make those anxiety-provoking future discussions a lot easier!


Our year in blogging: 2010

January 5, 2011

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow!

Government Book Talk  just received some year-end data on how it’s been doing. Here’s a high- level summary of our overall blog health that we’d like to share with you:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 5 days for that many people to see it.

The busiest day of the year was March 30th with 3,197 views. The most popular post that day was Welcome!.

Where did our readers come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were links.govdelivery.com, voices.washingtonpost.com, federalnewsradio.com, gpo.gov, and google.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for gpo style manual 2010, government book talk, charley harper posters, and gpo style manual.

We now have 1,078 subscribers.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Welcome! March 2010
25 comments

2

A Comic Book History of Printing September 2010
11 comments

3

100 GPO Years Revisited June 2010
20 comments

4

Bookstore Grand Reopening August 2010
9 comments

5

An Award-Winning Blog? October 2010
14 comments

We’d like to thank all of you who read, commented, and mentioned Government Book Talk in 2010. In 2011, we promise to do our best to keep on highlighting the almost infinite variety of Federal Government publications past and present. Let’s keep reading!


Tributes to Ted Kennedy

November 8, 2010

One of the most venerable traditions in the Federal Government is the publication of memorial addresses commemorating the careers of recently deceased Members of Congress. Even a cursory review via the Internet reveals that this practice extends back to the mid-19th century. That same review shows that, for the most part, despite the undoubtedly distinguished services of the individuals so honored, history has a way of eroding their fame, as it does for most of us.

I suspect that this won’t be the case for Senator Edward M. Kennedy – at least not for a long time. His unique family background, with its achievements and tragedies, as well as his own long, eventful, and productive career in the Senate, should keep his fame alive for a generation or two, at least.

What strikes me about Edward M. Kennedy, Late a Senator from Massachusetts: Memorial Addresses and Other Tributes, though, is what it shows about the more human interactions among the late Senator and his colleagues. Regardless of party or ideological persuasion, it’s heartening to read about political opponents who still are able to find common ground on certain issues and act positively to address them. You’ll also find a fair amount of humor, as well as personal anecdotes that portray Senator Kennedy as a genuinely genial and thoughtful person and a man of his word both politically and personally. It’s not a bad way to be remembered, and makes me think that there may be more good will and understanding among our legislators than we’re usually led to think. It cheered me up to read this book.

 A typical quote, this one from Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: “The only thing I can tell you about Senator Kennedy, without any hesitation, is if he told you he would do something, that is all you needed to hear. A handshake from him was better than a video deposition from most people.”

Edward M. Kennedy, Late a Senator from Massachusetts: Memorial Addresses and Other Tributes is available online at GPO. You can obtain either a paperback or handsome hardback edition here.


A Classic Updated: Glenn Brown’s History of the United States Capitol

September 7, 2010

From 1900 to 1902, the Government Printing Office produced a two-volume architectural history of the U.S. Capitol by the architect and author Glenn Brown. As a condition of its authorization by the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia, Brown personally selected the type and paper and designed the cover, which was based on a Capitol fireplace frieze destroyed in a basement gas explosion in 1898.  Only 200 hardbound copies were produced, making it a much-sought publication for architectural historians, collectors of Washingtoniana, and anyone interested in the art and architecture of the Capitol.

Fast forward to the bicentennial of the Capitol, which stretched from 1993, the year in which the cornerstone was laid by President George Washington, to 2000, 200 years after Congress moved to Washington, DC. Thanks to the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission, a new one-volume edition of Glenn Brown’s monumental work was designed and printed by GPO. It’s a really splendid achievement for a number of reasons.

First, it brings back into circulation a classic historical work. Second, under the meticulous editorship of William B. Bushong, it’s more than just a reprint. In addition to annotating Brown’s text “to correct errors, identify sources, describe controversial issues, or point readers to further modern published versions of cited documents on selected topics,” this new edition adds many black and white and color photographs of drawings, prints, and paintings while retaining the historically important original photos (reproduced in full when cropped for the original). He also provides an excellent profile of Glenn Brown, highlighting both his career achievements and disappointments.

For me, the enhanced illustrations are a highlight of this book, showing how the Capitol came to be, how it was in Brown’s day, and the changes that have occurred since then. Also, Brown is a lucid guide to the sometimes bewildering steps involved in first building and then remodeling the Capitol and provides little-known sidelights even on  its most well-known features. It certainly gave me pause to learn that when Thomas Crawford  forwarded photos of the model of Freedom, which surmounts the Capitol Dome, to Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, the latter objected to Freedom’s liberty cap, a contemporary emblem of liberty, on the grounds that it was “an emblem of emancipated slaves, while Americans were freeborn.” As a result, Freedom sports a helmet crested with feathers. Even the byways of history can reveal surprises.

This really remarkable book can be found here, you can add it to your personal libraryby buying it  here, or browse through it at a library near you.


“Now, when I was in Baghdad” – A Short Guide to Iraq

May 11, 2010

One of my first posts on this blog concerned a World War II booklet illustrated by Dr. Seuss. It was one of a cache of such booklets that had belonged to one of my uncles during his wartime service as a Navy pilot. Although not collector’s items, these little guides to China, India, Burma, West Africa, and even New Caledonia, fascinated me as a kid. As an adult, both before and after my discovery that the Dr. Seuss booklet was a collector’s item, I didn’t give them much thought.

Several years ago, though, they were brought to mind by a call from the person who was then in charge of GPO’s public relations office. Every so often we get calls about long out of print Government publications, and this was one of them. A reporter was asking about A Short Guide to Iraq and did I have any information about it? “Well, yes. Oddly enough, I own a copy.” I explained the background and said I’d rummage around at home and find it.

Within a few hours, I was in her office doing a telephone interview with a wire service reporter with a British accent. She seemed fascinated by how I had come to own a copy of the booklet she was seeking. As far as I know, the story never went anywhere, but I’m still amazed at how much excitement these old documents can stir up.

As for A Short Guide to Iraq, what seems to engage people is that American troops were sent to Iraq during the Second World War and that so much of the advice it provides seems relevant even today. A university press has reprinted a facsimile under the title “Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II” (the cover looks different but it’s basically the same book). It’s a quick read and very well done for its purpose, which was to give a quick overview of Iraq and its people for the average GI or sailor. It’s similar in intent, although less elaborate in execution, to the Afghanistan and Pakistan Smart Books I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. Click here to read this neat little booklet.


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