Writing for the U.S. military: Getting started

Subject: Writing for the U.S. military: Getting started
From: JP Brown <brofels -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 2009 15:37:03 -0500

Greetings,

I am an experienced technical writer (commercial) trying desperately
to familiarize myself with the prevailing standards and authoring
tools used to produce U.S. military technical manuals. I’m eager to
expand my professional knowledge to make myself more marketable as a
contract technical writer. I have a couple basic questions I’m hoping
a few of you “blackbelts” can address.

• Standards: Boy are there a lot of standards and specifications out
there. If you had to pick (or better, rank) the 3 most widely used
military standards (i.e. 38784) for printed manuals, what would they
be?
• Authoring tools: What percentage of manuals would you say are
developed using MS Word vs. some type of XML/SGML tool? Trying to
determine what new tools/schemas I may need to learn.
• Print vs. Online: What percentage of military manuals are produced
for exclusively print/pdf distribution vs. online?

Many thanks in advance.
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