Navigating government documents is a task that requires considerable knowledge of specialized terms and acronyms. This required knowledge nearly amounts to knowing a completely different language. To those who are not fluent, the task can be overwhelming, as federal departments fill their documents with acronyms, abbreviations, and terms that mean little or nothing to the outsider. Would you be able to make sense of a document that described how the COTR reports to the CO regarding compliance with FAR, GPRA, SARA, and FASA? (This is a common procedure in government contracting.) Would you have any clue what was being referred to if you came across MIL-STD-129P? (It is the new standard for Military Shipping Label Requirements.) The sheer number of such terms makes mastering them nearly impossible.
But now, these terms and their definitions are within reach. A Guide to Federal Terms and Acronyms presents a glossary of key definitions used by the Federal Government. This reference guide is comprehensive, covering the most common terms, acronyms, and abbreviations used by each major Federal Government agency. And it is also accessible, organized in a logical, easy-to-use format. Users can look up terms and acronyms by department or subject matter, making this a quick reference for translating government language. This is an essential tool for anyone who works with federal government information.
Don Philpott —
Don Philpott has been writing, reporting, and broadcasting on international events, trouble spots, and major news stories for almost 40 years. Don Philpott is editor-in-chief of International Homeland Security: The Quarterly Journal for Homeland Security Professionals, and the author or co-author of more than 90 books, including The Wounded Warrior Handbook (GI, 2008) and The Military Marriage Manual (GI, 2010).
A Guide to federal terms and acronyms, ed. by Don Philpott. Government Institutes, 2010. 1,199p afp; ISBN 9781605907123. Reviewed in 2011aug CHOICE.
Acronyms and abbreviations can be convenient for the writer but confusing and frustrating for the reader. Terminology in any specialty or bureaucracy can take on special meanings or definitions. Because of its size and complexity, the federal government never ceases to create large numbers of abbreviations, acronyms, and terms that make reading and understanding its publications and documents difficult. To help readers, editor Philpott offers this two-volume reference guide, which is divided into 29 topical sections, e.g., "Acquisitions," "Congress," and "Veterans' Affairs." Each section begins with terms and their definitions, followed by a list of related abbreviations and acronyms. Because no compiled list of these entries appears at the end of the second volume, the reader must know which section to search. Nor are the volumes designated as volume 1 and 2, so using them is somewhat annoying. Although acronyms appear on Web sites such as Acronym Finder http://www.acronymfinder.com/ (CH, Mar'06, 43-3725) and All Acronyms http://www.all-acronyms.com/, terms with special definitions can be more difficult to find. Thus professionals might find the terms defined in these volumes very helpful, whereas general readers probably would not.
Summing Up: Recommended. Professionals/practitioners. -- L. M. Stuart, Johns Hopkins University