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Below are common military acronyms and their meanings.

AFRICOM

U.S. Africa Command – a geographic combatant command. AFRICOM’s main headquarters is located at Kelley Barracks, in Stuttgart, Germany. The AFRICOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) is three-and-a-half times the size of the U.S. and spans the entire African continent, its island nations, and surrounding waters. AFRICOM is focused on protecting and defending U.S. interests by strengthening the defense capabilities of African nations.

APC 

An Armored Personnel Carrier is a type of vehicle used to transport military equipment and personnel in combat zones.

APU 

Auxiliary Power Units are devices used on large aircraft, naval ships, and sometimes land vehicles that provide energy for numerous functions, one being to propel the vehicle. 

BCT 

Basic Combat Training, also known as “boot camp,” is divided into three phases to teach the traditions, tactics, and methods to new soldiers working to join the Army service.

BDOC 

A Base Defense Operations Center is a command-and-control facility created by a base commander to serve as the center for security and defense operations of a base.

BDZ

A Base Defense Zone is a guarded zone established around an air base that’s guarded by short-range air defense weapons.

BK

A Battle Kitchen is a mobile field kitchen that’s mounted on a trailer and moved by an LMTV. It can feed up to 300 military personnel three meals a day.

C2 

Command and control of assigned and attached forces to accomplish a mission, by the authority and leadership of a commander.

C3I 

Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence is the authority and leadership of a commander over their force to accomplish a mission and allows the flow of information between commanding officers and subordinate military personnel to enhance the intelligence of military operations. 

C4I

Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence.

C4ISR

Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

CENTCOM

U.S. Central Command – a geographic combatant command. CENTCOM’s main headquarters are located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. The CENTCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) spans more than 4 million square miles and is focused on building cooperation among Middle East nations, responding to crises, deterring and defeating threats, and increasing regional stability.

CO 

A Commanding Officer is a commander of any rank between second lieutenant and colonel who has ultimate authority in a military unit and can run it as they see fit, within the bounds of law. 

COTS

Defined by the U.S. government and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Commercial Off-The-Shelf or Commercially Available Off-The-Shelf are products that can be purchased and used under government contracts and are available in the commercial marketplace.

CK

Containerized Kitchens are used for mobile food preparation while in the field. They’re integrated into ISO containers and typically mounted on a tactical trailer. 

CV 

A Combat Vehicle is a military vehicle that’s self-propelled and weaponized for use in combat warfare operations. 

CYBERCOM 

U.S. Cyber Command – a functional combatant command located at Fort Meade in Maryland. CYBERCOM is tasked with defending and advancing national interests.

DEPORD

A Deployment Order is an order from the Secretary of Defense that authorizes and directs forces to transfer between combatant commands through reassignment or attachment. 

DFAC

A Dining Facility is an area for soldiers in the armed forces to eat prepared meals. Also commonly called “chow halls.”

DoD 

The Department of Defense is a department of the United States Government that’s responsible for military operations. 

ECU

Environmental Control Units, or “Military HVAC units,” are ruggedized to provide temperature-controlled areas to support troops and military operations in deployed locations that require heating or air conditioning. Military ECUs are designed for portability and rapid deployments. 

EOC 

An Emergency Operations Center is a physical location that manages military incident activity. An EOC is the primary C3I facility used by Incident Management teams.

ESM 

Electronic Support Measures are a functional duty of military intelligence involving a range of electromagnetic surveillance and collection devices to detect, intercept, locate, identify, record, study, and provide insight to authorities for the purpose of immediate threat recognition. 

EUCOM  

U.S. European Command – a geographic combatant command. EUCOM’s main headquarters are located at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. The EUCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) covers more than 13 million square miles and includes 83 countries and territories in Europe and Asia. Working with NATO and partner nations, EUCOM is focused on security and defense in Europe and parts of the Middle East and Eurasia.

FAR

Federal Acquisition Regulation is a set of rules governing government procurement and contracts issued by the U.S. Military, NASA, as well as U.S. civilian federal agencies.

FOB 

A Military FOB, or Forward Operating Base, is a guarded and secured military base that supports strategic objectives. It’s more permanent than a military forward operating site (FOS) and often contains maintenance and repair facilities, mobile field hospitals, airfields, and more. 

FSC 

The Food Sanitation Center provides cleaning capabilities performed after food service in the field. They operate with containerized kitchen units and consist of sanitation equipment, including sinks, racks, water heating equipment, and more. 

FOS 

A Forward Operating Site (Military FOS), also known as a Forward Operating Location (Military FOL), is a term used for facilities that can support and sustain military operations. A military FOS has less of a permanent presence than a FOB.  

HD 

Homeland Defense is the protection of sovereignty, territory, domestic population, and critical defense infrastructure in the United States from outside threats.

INDOPACOM

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command – a geographic combatant command. INDOPACOM’s main headquarters is located at Camp H.M. Smith, in Hawaii. The INDOPACOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) covers more of the globe than any other geographic combatant command, stretching from the waters off the west coast of the U.S. to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole. INDOPACOM works with its partners to promote development, enhance security, deter aggression, and provide humanitarian assistance.

ISO

The International Organization for Standardization sets standards for intermodal transport of equipment. Many military bases use ISO-standard intermodal containers.

JFO 

A Joint Field Office is a temporary federal coordination center with multiple agencies that facilitates the management of domestic incident activities relating to prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. 

LAMS

Large Area Maintenance Shelters are large structures used for military hangars and Aircraft Maintenance (LAMS-AM) and Vehicle Maintenance (LAMS-VM).  

LOC 

Line of Communications refers to the route that connects a supply base to an operating military unit.

LMTV 

Light Medium Tactical Vehicles are in a series of military vehicles that vary in their payload and mission requirements. They meet U.S. Army requirements, one of which is a 50% minimum of U.S. content for their manufacturing. 

LZ 

A Landing Zone is the area where military aircraft such as planes or helicopters can land.

MHA 

Military Housing Areas represent a geographic area where military service members can seek community housing. 

MILCON 

Military Construction is any construction or development project, as well as a conversion or extension project related to temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent military installations, including land acquisition and road construction for defense access. 

MILDEP 

Military Department pertains to the three military departments under the DoD, which include the Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force. Each department’s authority, function, and organization are established in Title 10 within the U.S. Code.

MILPERS 

Military Personnel is anyone who serves in the military’s armed forces or is a member of a military force. 

MILSPEC 

Military Specification is often referred to as a military standard, and it’s used to strive for or achieve objective standards from the U.S. Department of Defense. 

MILSTAMP

Military Standard Transportation and Movement Procedures is a standard established by the DoD for all cargo movements, and pertains to the data, documentation, and control procedures of military cargo.  

MOLLE 

Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment is a system that allows soldiers to safely carry tactical combat gear on them in preparation for field combat. It has many components, including a fighting load carrier that can attach to releasable body armor, and pockets to hold a radio, GPS and more. 

MOS

Military Occupational Specialty is a military service member’s specific job in the force, which can range from aviation and artillery to intelligence and engineering. 

MSE

Mission Support Elements supports the command by providing administrative and logistical support.

MSF

Mobile Security Force is a security force dedicated to defeating Level 1 and 2 threats on a military base or a group of military bases.  

MTF 

A Medical Treatment Facility involves the clinics, military field hospitals, and other treatment centers found on military bases and posts throughout the world. 

MTRCS

A Multi-Temperature Refrigerated Container System allows for the safe transport and storage of refrigerated or frozen products in a single ISO intermodal container. These containers are equipped with an engine refrigeration unit and can carry up to three days of food rations for up to 800 military personnel. 

MWR 

Morale, Welfare & Recreation is a program that promotes the quality of life for military personnel. A variety of activities and services are made available to military personnel to support their well-being, their families, and the community. 

NMS 

The National Military Strategy in the U.S. is composed of three military objectives. The first is to “deter, deny, and defeat state adversaries”; the second is to “disrupt, degrade, and defeat violent extremist organizations”; and the third is to “strengthen our global network of partners and allies.” 

NORTHCOM

U.S. Northern Command – a geographic combatant command. NORTHCOM’s main headquarters is located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. The NORTHCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) encompasses the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding air, land, and sea approaches. NORTHCOM is focused on homeland defense – deterring, detecting, and defeating threats to the United States. It also conducts security cooperation activities with allies and partners and supports civil authorities.

OPCON 

Operational Control is the authority of a commanding officer to direct subordinate military personnel by assigning tasks, establishing objectives, and giving direction to accomplish a mission or other military operation.

OPSEC

Operational Security is the process of identifying and protecting any information about military operations.

OPLAN 

Operation Plan is the conduct of joint operations and can be used as a foundation for developing operation orders.

OTC 

Officer in Tactical Command is a NATO term pertaining to an officer who is in command of a task unit, task group, or task force. 

PCS

Permanent Change of Station is when an assignment, detail, or member of a unit is transferred to a different duty station under an order.

PPE 

Personal Protective Equipment refers to combat helmets, gloves, footwear, eye protection, tactical vests, body armor, respiratory devices, and more worn by military personnel during training or combat operations. 

RSOI

Reception, Staging, Onward-Movement & Integration (also abbreviated as RSO&I) is the ability to rapidly deploy equipment and personnel to a contingency area where they transition from being cargo and passengers to achieve combat readiness and integrate their capability into a military force to accomplish a mission.

SOCOM

U.S. Special Operations Command – a functional combatant command located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. SOCOM oversees the various special operations components of the armed forces.

SOUTHCOM

U.S. Southern Command – a geographic combatant command. SOUTHCOM’s main headquarters is in Miami, Florida. The SOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) includes 31 countries, 16 dependencies and areas of special sovereignty in Central and South America. Working with allies and partners across the region, SOUTHCOM is focused on enhancing peace, promoting human rights, deterring illegal activities, and conducting multinational military exercises.

SOP 

Standard Operating Procedure is indicative of a set of instructions or way to do something that’s set as a standard without loss of effectives and is assumed as the right procedure for any operating task in the military. 

SPACECOM

U.S. Space Command – a geographic combatant command. SPACECOM’s main headquarters is located at Fort Meade in Maryland. SPACECOM’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) includes operations in, from, and to space. The newest command, SPACECOM is focused on deterring conflict and, if necessary, defeating aggression, delivering space combat power for the joint/combined force, and defending U.S. vital interests with allies and partners.

STRATCOM

U.S. Strategic Command – a functional combatant command located at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. STRATCOM operates globally to deter and detect strategic attacks against the United States.

SUW 

Surface Warfare is when warfare relating to surface, air, or submarine components blend as a unit to achieve a particular strategic military objective.

TDY 

Temporary Duty Station is a location where temporary assignments take place, rather than a military service member’s permanent duty station. 

TF 

A Task Force is an established formation of personnel to work on a single defined task or activity. A TF is divided into Task Groups (TG), and TGs are divided into Task Units (TU). TGs and TUs are organized by a commander or higher authority.

TOC

A Tactical Operations Center is the command and control (C2) hub for planning, directing, and tracking the operations of a mission. A Military TOC is designed for rapid deployments and scalability to support company- to division-sized task forces.

TRANSCOM 

U.S. Transportation Command – a functional combatant command. Focused on providing support to all 10 combatant commands in the U.S., defense agencies and military services, as well as government agencies. They establish mobility operations around the world to enable the Joint Force to project and sustain national objectives. 

TU 

Task Units are a component of a Task Group organized by a commander or higher authority. 

TUAV 

A Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, also known as an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV), combat drone, or battlefield UAV, is an unmanned drone equipped with aircraft ordinance such as missiles, Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM), or bombs.

UAV 

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a component of an unmanned aircraft system (including a ground-based controller and system of communications) and is commonly referred to as a drone; the aircraft flies without a human pilot, crew, or passengers on board. 

UCP

The Unified Command Plan is a classified document prepared, reviewed, and presented to the President by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) every two years. The UCP establishes the missions, responsibilities, and geographic areas of responsibility for commanders of the four functional (CYBERCOM, SOCOM, STRATCOM, TRANSCOM) and seven geographic combatant commands (CENTCOM, AFRICOM, EUCOM, NORTHCOM, INDOPACOM, SOUTHCOM, and SPACECOM).

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