Similar to any sphere of military life, interpersonal communication in the army obeys quite strict rules. Following those enables the rapid transmission of maximally clear messages, which is critical in the conditions that involve the lack of time and require the rational use of resources. Therefore, army writing at all levels should minimize the probability of misunderstanding, for which reason both the form and the content of texts should correspond to the principles of accuracy, brevity, clarity, coherence, and unity.
Accuracy is synonymic to objectivity; in other words, any forms of bias or distortion are unacceptable in military communication. Writing should involve only essential and topical facts without expressing the author’s attitude to those, personal feelings, speculations, or other (“Principles of army writing style,” n.d.). In addition, the need for keeping to essentials means that to be brief, seeking to reach the minimal possible length of writings. The other requirements to the form involve adding certain explanatory facts or graphs as appendices in case this is necessary (ibid). It is worth noting, however, that the brevity of a particular written piece should not compromise the understandability of the message it bears. Finding and maintaining the proper balance of these two parameters, therefore, is among the keys to effective army writing.
The above understandability, to which it is also possible to refer as clarity, actually is the basic principle of any successful communication. In military contexts, however, it gains special importance due to the lack of time to waste trying to decipher the messages. Considering this, military writings should follow certain requirements on style and structure that are common, regardless of the topic; such universality improves their legibility. One of the essential points is the use of active voice rather than passive because the latter bears the threat of mixing the doer with the action receiver (“Writing in the army style,” 2017). For the same reason, first-person pronouns are preferable because using them shows who takes responsibility for the actions that a particular piece describes. Regarding the structure of the writing itself, it should include a purpose statement and a thesis, which actually embody the central idea, while the main part supports it.
Regarding coherence, it stands for the logical arrangement of a written piece, in other words, connection among its parts that enables smooth reading and provides a maximally broad perspective on the described events. Sticking to the above structural regulations is one of the basics of coherent writing in terms of form; regarding content, it should be presented in a way that does not leave any questions without answers. Simply stated, it has to be clear what, where, and when happened, who did that, and how exactly that was (“Writing in the army style,” 2017). It may be relevant to provide detail on each of the points, which needs categorizing and organizing in logical groups, so that the main part supports the thesis in a maximally illustrative and persuasive manner. All of the resources, to which the writer may refer, need careful documenting since their authors share the responsibility.
Finally, such a term as unity means that each particular written piece in military communication should adhere to a single idea, transmitting one central message. The same principle is applicable to the paragraphs it comprises; each should mention and, if necessary, specify no more than one point. In case there are several major issues to enlighten, the rules presuppose composing separate papers (“Principles of army writing style,” n.d.). Neither is it acceptable to make any remarks or additions that are beyond the main topic, as this not only complicates communicating it, but also can make the writing wordy.
The latter nuance is essential as well; notably, the correct choice of words is worth mentioning among the fundamentals of brevity, clarity, and coherence. In terms of the first, shorter formulations doubtlessly are preferable over longer since the overall length of a paper depends on that of the sentences it comprises. Regarding clarity, the writing should not be too formal, bookish, field-specific, or pompous; such styles are not helpful in transmitting messages and even can interfere with decoding them (“Principles of army writing style,” n.d.). In addition, unnecessarily difficult vocabulary may blur the logical connections within the text, consequently making it less coherent.
To summarize, both the form and the content of communication in the army need to adhere to certain rules to allow for maximal effectiveness in the conditions of limited time. Writing should be accurate, which means presenting only the topical facts with a clear reference to resources and no bias. The words should be as few and simple as possible, so that nothing complicates identifying the key message of the written piece. The message itself should be single, in other words, each text should enlighten one issue, and each paragraph should specify one point. Finally, it is essential to connect the components to one another logically to ensure the coherence of the writing and, subsequently, minimize the probability that the addressee misunderstands it.
Principles of army writing style. (n.d.). Web.
Writing in the army style. (2017). Web.