Sunday, August 29, 2010


An explosion of a bomb or projectile above the surface as distinguished from an explosion on contact with the
surface or after penetration.

air-breathing missile

A missile with an engine requiring the intake of air for combustion of its fuel, as in a ramjet or turbojet.  To be contrasted with the rocket missile, which carries its own oxidizer and can operate beyond the atmosphere.

airborne troops

Those ground units whose primary mission is to make assault landings from the air.

airborne sensor operator

 An individual trained to operate sensor equipment aboard aircraft and to perform limited interpretations of collected information produced in flight.

airborne radio relay

Airborne equipment used to relay radio transmission from selected originating transmitters.

airborne order

A command and authorization for flight when a predetermined time greater than five minutes is established for aircraft to become airborne.

airborne operation

An operation involving the air movement into an objective area of combat forces and their logistic support for execution of a tactical, operational,  or strategic mission.  The means employed may be any combination of airborne units, air transportable units, and types of transport aircraft, depending on the mission and the overall situation.

airborne mission commander

The commander serves as an airborne extension of the executing component’s rescue coordination center (RCC) and coordinates the combat search and rescue (CSAR) effort between the combat search and rescue task force (CSARTF) and the RCC (or joint search and rescue center) by monitoring the status of all CSARTF elements, requesting additional assets when needed, and ensuring the recovery and supporting forces arrive at their designated areas to accomplish the CSAR mission.  The airborne mission commander (AMC) may be  designated by the component RCC or higher authority. The AMC appoints, as necessary, an onscene  commander.  Also called AMC.

airborne lift

The total capacities expressed in terms of personnel and cargo that are, or can be, carried by available aircraft in one trip.

airborne interception equipment

fire control system, including radar equipment, installed in interceptor aircraft used to effect air interception.

airborne force

A force composed primarily of ground and air units organized, equipped, and trained for airborne operations.

airborne early warning and control

Air surveillance and control provided by airborne early warning aircraft which are equipped with search and  height-finding radar and communications equipment for controlling weapon systems.  Also called AEW & C.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Airborne early warning

 The detection of enemy air or surface units by radar or other equipment carried in an airborne vehicle,  and the transmitting of a warning to friendly units.

Airborne command post

A suitably equipped aircraft used by the commander for the control of his or her forces.

Airborne battlefield command and control center

 A United States Air Force aircraft equipped with communications, data link, and display equipment; it may be  employed as an airborne command post or a communications and intelligence relay facility

Airborne assault weapon

 An unarmored, mobile, full-tracked gun providing a mobile antitank capability for airborne troops.  Can be airdropped.

Airborne alert

A state of aircraft readiness wherein combat-equipped aircraft are airborne and ready for immediate action. See also fighter cover.  (DOD only)  It is designed to reduce reaction time and to increase survivability.


 1.  In relation to personnel, troops especially trained to effect, following transport by air, an assault  debarkation, either by parachuting or touchdown. 
2.  In relation to equipment, pieces of equipment that have been especially designed for use by airborne  troops during or after an assault debarkation.  It also designates some aeronautical equipment used to  accomplish a particular mission. 
3.  When applied to materiel, items that form an integral part of the aircraft. 
4.  The state of an aircraft, from the instant it becomes entirely sustained by air until it ceases to be so  sustained.  A lighter-than-air aircraft is not considered to be airborne when it is attached to the ground, except that moored balloons are airborne whenever sent aloft.  Also called ABN.

Air attack

1.   coordinated — A combination of two or more types of air attack (dive, glide, low-level) in one strike, using one or more types of aircraft. 
2. deferred — A procedure in which attack groups rendezvous as a single unit.  It is used when attack groups  are launched from more than one station with their departure on the mission being delayed pending further orders. 
3.  divided — A method of delivering a coordinated air attack which consists of holding the units in close tactical concentration up to a point, then splitting them to attack an objective from different directions.

Air assault

The movement of friendly assault forces (combat, combat support, and combat service support) by rotary-wing aircraft to engage and destroy enemy forces or to seize and hold key terrain.

Air and space expeditionary task force

A deployed numbered air force (NAF) or command echelon immediately subordinate to a NAF provided as the US Air Force component command committed to a joint operation.


In artillery and naval gunfire support, a spotting, or an observation, by a spotter or an observer to indicate that a burst or group of bursts occurred before impact.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Aggressor forces

1.  Forces engaged in aggressive military action. 
2.  In the context of training exercises, the “enemy” created to add realism in training maneuvers and exercises.

Agent net

An organization for clandestine purposes that operates under the direction of a principal agent.

Agent authentication

The technical support task of providing an agent with personal documents, accoutrements, and equipment which have the appearance of authenticity as to claimed origin and which support and are consistent with the agent’s cover story


In intelligence usage, one who is authorized or instructed to obtain or to assist in obtaining information for  intelligence or counterintelligence purposes.


In intelligence usage, an organization or individual engaged in collecting and/or processing information. Also called collection agency.


Wind currents set up in the vicinity of a nuclear explosion directed toward the burst center, resulting from the updraft accompanying the rise of the fireball.

Afloat support

A form of logistic support outside the confines of a harbor in which fuel, ammunition, and supplies are provided for operating forces either underway or at anchor.

Afloat pre-positioning ships

Forward deployed merchant ships loaded with tactical equipment and supplies to support the initial deployment  of military forces. Also called APS.

Afloat pre-positioning operations

Pre-positioning of ships, preloaded with equipment and supplies (including ammunition and petroleum) that  provides for an alternative to land-based programs. This concept provides for ships and onboard force support equipment and supplies positioned near potential crisis areas that can be delivered rapidly to joint airlifted forces in the operational area.  Afloat pre-positioning in forward areas enhances a force’s capability to respond to a crisis, resulting in faster reaction time.

Afloat pre-positioning force

Shipping maintained in full operational status to afloat pre-position military equipment and supplies in support of combatant commanders’ operation plans.  The afloat pre-positioning force consists of the three maritime  pre-positioning ships squadrons and the afloat pre-positioning ships.

Affiliation training

Military training based on allied and/or coalition, joint, and/or Service doctrine or tactics, techniques, and procedures, as applicable, to prepare personnel or units for multinational operations.  Usually conducted  between US and non-US forces. May also be referred to as multinational  training.

Aerospace defense

1.  All defensive measures designed to destroy or nullify attacking enemy aircraft and missiles and also negate hostile space systems.
2.  An inclusive term encompassing air defense, ballistic missile defense, and space defense.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Of, or pertaining to, Earth’s envelope of atmosphere and the space above it; two separate entities considered as a single realm for activity in launching, guidance, and control of vehicles that will travel in both entities.


A liquid or solid composed of finely divided particles suspended in a gaseous medium.  Examples of common aerosols are mist, fog, and smoke.

Aeronautical plotting chart

designed for the graphical processes of navigation.

Aeronautical information overprint

Additional information which is printed or stamped on a map or chart for the specific purpose of air navigation.

Aeronautical chart

A specialized representation of mapped features of the Earth, or some part of it, produced to show selected terrain, cultural and hydrographic features, and supplemental information required for air navigation, pilotage, or for planning air operations.

Aeromedical evacuation unit

An operational medical organization concerned primarily with the management and control of patients being  transported via an aeromedical evacuation system or system echelon.

Aeromedical evacuation system

 A system that provides:
a.  control of patient movement by air transport;
b.  specialized medical aircrew, medical crew augmentees, and specialty medical attendants andequipment for inflight medical care;
c. facilities on or in the vicinity of air strips and air bases for the limited medical care of intransit patients entering,  en route via, or leaving the system; and
d. communication with originating, destination, and en route medical facilities concerning patient transportation.

Aeromedical evacuation coordination center

 A coordination center within the joint air operations center’s airlift coordination cell that monitors all activities related to aeromedical evacuation (AE) operations execution.  It manages the medical aspects of the AE mission  and serves as the net control station for AE communications.  It coordinates medical requirements with airlift  capability, assigns medical missions to the appropriate AE elements, and monitors patient movement activities.

Aeromedical evacuation control officer

An officer of the air transport force or air command controlling the flow of patients by air.

Aeromedical evacuation

The movement of patients under medical supervision to and between medical treatment facilities by air transportation.

Aerodynamic missile

A missile which uses aerodynamic forces to maintain its flight path.

Aerial port squadron

An Air Force organization that operates and provides the functions assigned to aerial ports, including processing personnel and cargo, rigging for airdrop, packing parachutes, loading equipment, preparing air cargo and load plans, loading and securing aircraft, ejecting cargo for inflight delivery, and supervising units engaged in aircraft  loading and unloading operations.

Aerial port control center

The agency responsible for the management and control of all aerial port resources and for the receipt and dissemination of all airlift requirements received from the airlift coordination cell as the joint force commander’s agent.

Aerial port

An airfield that has been designated for the sustained air movement of personnel and materiel as well as an authorized port for entrance into or departure from the country where located.

Advisory area

A designated area within a flight information region where air traffic advisory service is available.

Adverse weather aerial delivery system

The precise delivery of personnel, equipment, and supplies during adverse weather, using a self-contained  aircraft instrumentation system without artificial ground assistance or the use of ground navigational aids.

Adverse weather

Weather in which military operations are generally restricted or impeded.

Advance guard support

First of the two main parts of an advance guard, the other being the advance guard reserve.  It is made up of three smaller elements, in order from front to rear, the advance guard point, the advance party, and the support  proper.  The advance guard support protects the advance guard reserve.

Advance guard reserve

Second of the two main parts of an advance guard, the other being the advance guard support.  It protects the main force and is itself protected by the advance guard support.  Small advance guards do not have reserves.

Advance guard

Detachment sent ahead of the main force to ensure its uninterrupted advance; to protect the main body against surprise; to facilitate the advance by removing obstacles and repairing roads and bridges; and to cover the  deployment of the main body if it is committed to action.

Advance force

A temporary organization within the amphibious task force which precedes the main body to the objective area.  Its function is to participate in preparing the objective for the main assault by conducting such operations as reconnaissance, seizure of supporting positions, minesweeping, preliminary bombardment, underwater  demolitions, and air support.

Advanced operations base

In special operations, a small temporary base established near or within a joint special operations area to  command, control, and/or support training or tactical operations. Facilities are normally austere.  The base may  be ashore or afloat.  If ashore, it may include an airfield or unimproved airstrip, a pier, or an anchorage.  An  advanced operations base is normally controlled and/or supported by a main operations base or a forward operations base.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Advanced base

 A base located in or near an operational area whose primary mission is to support military operations.

Administrative shipping

Support shipping that is capable of transporting troops and cargo from origin to destination, but that cannot be  loaded or unloaded without non-organic personnel and/or equipment (e.g., cargo handling personnel,  stevedores, piers, barges, cranes, materials handling equipment, vessels, etc.).

Administrative order

An order covering traffic, supplies, maintenance, evacuation, personnel, and other administrative details.

Administrative movement

A movement in which troops and vehicles are arranged to expedite their movement and conserve time and  energy when no enemy interference, except by air, is anticipated.

Administrative map

 A map that contains graphically recorded information pertaining to administrative matters, such as supply and evacuation installations, personnel installations, medical facilities, collecting points for stragglers and enemy  prisoners of war, train bivouacs, service and maintenance areas, main supply roads, traffic circulation,  boundaries, and other details necessary to show the administrative situation.

Administrative loading

A loading system which gives primary consideration to achieving maximum utilization of troop and cargo space without regard to tactical considerations.  Equipment and supplies must be unloaded and sorted before they can be used.

Administrative lead time

The interval between initiation of procurement action and letting of contract or placing of order

Administrative landing

An unopposed landing involving debarkation from vessels that have been administratively loaded.

Administrative escort

A warship or merchant ship under naval control, carrying a convoy commodore and staff, and serving as a platform for simultaneous communication with an operational control authority and a coastal convoy.

Administrative control

Direction or exercise of authority over subordinate or other organizations in respect to administration and  support, including organization of Service forces, control of resources and equipment, personnel management,  unit logistics, individual and unit training, readiness, mobilization, demobilization, discipline, and other matters not included in the operational missions of the subordinate or other organizations.

Administrative airlift service

The airlift service normally provided by specifically identifiable aircraft assigned to organizations or commands  for internal administration.


An order to the observer or spotter to initiate an adjustment on a designated target.


Operation plan review criterion. The determination as to whether the scope and concept of a planned operation are sufficient to accomplish the task assigned.

Acute radiation dose

Total ionizing radiation dose received at one time and over a period so short that biological recovery cannot occur.


To operate a mine-firing mechanism by an influence or a series of influences in such a way that all the requirements of the mechanism for firing, or for registering a target count, are met

Actual ground zero

The point on the surface of the Earth at, or vertically below or above, the center of an actual nuclear detonation.

Act of mercy

In evasion and recovery operations, assistance rendered to evaders by an individual or elements of the local population who sympathize or empathize with the evaders’ cause or plight.


1.  A unit, organization, or installation performing a function or mission, e.g., reception center, redistribution  center, naval station, naval shipyard. 
2.  A function, mission, action, or collection of actions.

Active status

Status of all Reserves except those on an inactive status list or in the Retired Reserve. Reservists in an active status may train for points and/or pay and may be considered for promotion.

Active sealift forces

Military Sealift Command active, common-user sealift and the afloat pre-positioning force, including the required cargo handling and delivery systems as well as necessary operating personnel.

Active public affairs policy

Open dissemination of information to inform the news media and public about an issue or activity.  An active  approach is characterized by announcing the event or addressing the issue through news media advisories, news releases, personal contacts, news conferences, or other forms of public presentation.  Such a policy encourages  and supports news media coverage.

Active mine

A mine actuated by the reflection from a target of a signal emitted by the mine.

Active material

Material, such as plutonium and certain isotopes of uranium, which is capable of supporting a fission chain reaction.

Active homing guidance

 A system of homing guidance wherein both the source for illuminating the target and the receiver for detecting  the energy reflected from the target as the result of the illumination are carried within the missile

Active Guard and Reserve

National Guard and Reserve members who are on voluntary active duty providing full-time support to National  Guard, Reserve, and Active Component organizations for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the Reserve Components.

Active duty for training

 A tour of active duty which is used for training members of the Reserve Components to provide trained units and qualified persons to fill the needs of the Armed Forces in time of war or national emergency and such other  times as the national security requires.  The member is under orders that provide for return to non-active status when the period of active duty for training is completed. This includes annual training, special tours of active duty for training, school tours, and the initial duty for training performed by non prior service enlistees.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Active duty for special work

A tour of active duty for reserve personnel authorized from military and reserve personnel appropriations for  work on active or reserve component programs. This includes annual screening, training camp operations, training ship operations, and unit conversion to new weapon systems when such duties are essential.  Active duty for special work may also be authorized to support study groups, training sites and exercises, short-term  projects, and doing administrative or support functions.  By policy, active duty for special work tours are normally limited to 179 days or less in one fiscal year.  Tours exceeding 180 days are accountable against active duty end strength.

Active duty

Full-time duty in the active military service of the United States.  This includes members of the Reserve Components serving on active duty or full-time training duty, but does not include full-time National Guard duty.

Active defense

The employment of limited offensive action and counterattacks to deny a contested area or position to the enemy

Active air defense

Direct defensive action taken to destroy, nullify, or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air and missile threats against friendly forces and assets. It includes the use of aircraft, air defense weapons, electronic warfare, and  other available weapons.

Activation detector

A device used to determine neutron flux or density by virtue of the radioactivity induced in it as a result of neutron capture.


Order to active duty (other than for training) in the Federal service.

Action phase

In an amphibious operation, the period of time between the arrival of the landing forces of the amphibious force in the operational area and the accomplishment of their mission.

Action deferred

Tactical action on a specific track is being withheld for better tactical advantage.  Weapons are available and commitment is pending.

Action agent

In intelligence usage, one who has access to, and performs actions against, the target.

Acquisition and cross-servicing agreement

Agreements negotiated on a bilateral basis with US allies or coalition partners that allow US forces to  exchange most common types of support, including food, fuel, transportation, ammunition, and equipment.  Authority to negotiate these agreements is usually delegated to the combatant commander by the Secretary of
Defense.  Authority to execute these agreements lies with the Secretary of Defense, and may or may not be  delegated.
Governed by legal guidelines, these agreements are used for contingencies, peacekeeping operations,  unforeseen emergencies, or exercises to correct logistic deficiencies that cannot be adequately corrected by national means.  The support received or given is reimbursed under the conditions of the acquisition and cross- servicing agreement.


1.  When applied to acquisition radars, the process of detecting the presence and location of a target in sufficient detail to permit identification. 
2.  When applied to tracking radars, the process of positioning a radar beam so that a target is in that beam to permit the effective employment of weapons.

Acoustic warfare

Action involving the use of underwater acoustic energy to determine, exploit, reduce, or prevent hostile use of  the underwater acoustic spectrum and actions which retain friendly use of the underwater acoustic spectrum. Also called AW.  
There are three divisions within acoustic warfare. 
1.   acoustic warfare support measures.  That aspect of acoustic warfare involving actions to search for,  intercept, locate, record, and analyze radiated acoustic energy in water for the purpose of exploiting such radiations.  The use of acoustic warfare support measures involves no intentional underwater acoustic  emission and is generally not detectable by the enemy.  Also called AWSM.  
2.   acoustic warfare countermeasures.  That aspect of acoustic warfare involving actions taken to prevent or reduce an enemy’s effective use of the underwater acoustic spectrum. Acoustic warfare countermeasures  involve intentional underwater acoustic emissions for deception and jamming.  Also called AWCM. 
3.  acoustic warfare counter-countermeasures.  That aspect of acoustic warfare involving actions taken to  ensure friendly effective use of the underwater acoustic spectrum despite the enemy’s use of underwater  acoustic warfare.  Acoustic warfare counter-countermeasures involve anti-acoustic warfare support measures  and anti-acoustic warfare countermeasures, and may not involve underwater acoustic emissions.  Also called AWCCM.

Acoustic minehunting

The use of a sonar to detect mines or mine-like objects which may be on or protruding from the seabed, or buried.

Acoustic mine

A mine with an acoustic circuit which responds to the acoustic field of a ship or sweep.

Acoustic jamming

The deliberate radiation or reradiation of mechanical or electroacoustic signals with the objectives of obliterating  or obscuring signals that the enemy is attempting to receive and of disrupting enemy weapons systems.

Acoustic intelligence

Intelligence derived from the collection and processing of acoustic phenomena. Also called ACINT.

Acoustic circuit

A mine circuit which responds to the acoustic field of a target.

Acoustical surveillance

Employment of electronic devices, including sound-recording, -receiving, or -transmitting equipment, for the collection of information.

Accuracy of fire

The precision of fire expressed by the closeness of a grouping of shots at and around the center of the target.

Accounting line designator

A five-character code, consisting of the target desired ground zero designator and the striking command suffix,  to indicate a specific nuclear strike by a specified weapon delivery system on a target objective to the operation  plan.  Also called ALD.

Friday, July 30, 2010


The obligation imposed by law or lawful order or regulation on an officer or other person for keeping accurate record of property, documents, or funds. The person having this obligation may or may not have actual  possession of the property, documents, or funds.
Accountability is concerned primarily with records, while responsibility is concerned primarily with custody, care, and safekeeping. 

Accompanying supplies

Unit supplies that deploy with forces.

Accidental attack

An unintended attack which occurs without deliberate national design as a direct result of a random event, such as a mechanical failure, a simple human error, or an unauthorized action by a subordinate.

Access to classified information

The ability and opportunity to obtain knowledge of classified information.  Persons have access to classified  information if they are permitted to gain knowledge of the information or if they are in a place where they would  be expected to gain such knowledge.  Persons do not have access to classified information by being in a place where classified information is kept if security measures prevent them from gaining knowledge of the information.


Operation plan review criterion.  The determination as to whether the contemplated course of action is worth the cost in manpower,  materiel, and time involved; is consistent with the law of war; and is militarily and politically  supportable.

Absorbed dose

The amount of energy imparted by nuclear (or ionizing) radiation to unit mass of absorbing material.  The unit is the rad

Absolute height

The height of an aircraft directly above the surface or terrain over which it is flying.  See also altitude.

Absolute filter

A filter capable of cutting off 100% by weight of solid particles greater than a stated micron size

Absolute dud

A nuclear weapon which, when launched at or emplaced on a target, fails to explode.

Absolute altimeter

A type of altimeter which measures vertical distance to the surface below, using radio, radar, sonic, laser, or  capacitive technology.

Above-the-line publications

The upper level publications in the hierarchy of joint publications which includes capstone, keystone, and other  key joint doctrine publications that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff signs and are intended to be used by combatant commanders, subunified commanders, joint task force commanders, Service Chiefs, and Joint Staff  directors.


1. To terminate a mission for any reason other than enemy action. It may occur at any point after the beginning of the mission and prior to its completion.
2. To discontinue aircraft takeoff or missile launch.