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A piece of Mullen's desk /Tim Davis for TIME

TIME has just posted photographs of some of Washington’s most famous desks, past and present. This one caught our eye: it’s the desk of Adm. Mike Mullen, when was serving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The USELESS stamp was all in fun…mostly,” says Navy Capt. John Kirby, Mullen’s long-time spokesman. “He wanted it to provoke thought to generate quality, meaningful staff work. He said he wasn’t so sure it worked with me.”