Although there are other treatises on abbreviations and acronyms here on E2, there are none at the time of this writing that I am able to find which deal with the rather prolific world of military slang and speech. Therefore, I declare my current E2 quest to be to place a brief guide to some common military abbreviations and acronyms here in the database, and to link to those which have already been explained on E2 as well as provide (eventually) explanations for some subset of the available abbreviations and acronyms (A&A from here on).

I am going to put this up as one node, for now, since it has relatively light data loading (essentially a list with a few words after each item). If this node is slow to load or causes you trouble, /msg me and let me know and I'll split it up. If you know of a writeup that explains one of the A&A's listed here but there's no link, then /msg me! I'll add it in.

Sources include, among others: Jane's Defence Glossary, U.S. Army TRADOC, U.S. Navy Acronym List, Department of Defense Encyclopedia, various field manuals and service propaganda/webpages. To whomever posted the link to Cut-and-Paste Writeups Will Die, I would point out that this list itself is not cut and paste; it has been manually assembled from several other sources. While individual entries may be C&P, they are attributed.

Thanks for your patience. With no further ado, the (perpetually under construction!) U.S. Military Abbreviations and Acronyms Short Guide!

  • AAA - Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Triple-A)
  • AAC - Alaskan Air Command, All-Aspect Capability
  • AAFARS - Advanced Aviation Forward Air Refueling System
  • AAFNE - Allied Air Forces, Northern Europe
  • AAFSE - Allied Air Forces, Southern Europe
  • AAK - Applique Armor Kit
  • AALC - Amphibious Assault Landing Craft
  • AAR - After Action Review, Air-to-Air Refueling
  • AAV - Autonomous Aerial Vehicle, Amphibious Assault Vehicle (USMC)
  • AAW - Anti-Air Warfare
  • AAWC - Anti-Air Warfare Commander
  • ABL - Armored Box Launcher, Airborne Laser
  • ABRS - Assault Ballistic Rocket System
  • ACAS - Airborne Collision Avoidance System
  • ACC - Air Combat Command
  • ACE - Aviation Combat Element , Allied Command Europe(NATO)
  • ACINT - Acoustic Intelligence
  • ACNO - Assistant Chief of Naval Operations
  • ACS - Auxiliary Crane Ship
  • AD - Destroyer Tender
  • ADCAP - Advanced Capabilities
  • ADCOM - Administrative Command
  • AE - Ammunition Ship
  • AEW - Airborne Early Warning
  • AF - Store Ship
  • AFDB - Large Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock
  • AFDL - Small Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock
  • AFDM - Medium Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock
  • AFPC - Armed Forces Policy Council
  • AFS - Combat Store Ship
  • AFQT - Armed Forces Qualification Test
  • AG - Miscellaneous Support Ship
  • AGDS - Deep Submergence Support Ship
  • AGF - Miscellaneous Command Ship
  • AGM - Missile Range Instrumentation Ship
  • AGOR - Oceanographic Research Ship
  • AGOS - Ocean Surveillance Ship
  • AGS - Surveying Ship
  • AGSS - Auxiliary Research Submarine
  • AGTR - Technical Research Vessel
  • AH - Hospital Ship
  • AK - Cargo Ship
  • AKR - Vehicle Cargo Ship
  • ALCM - Air Launched Cruise Missile
  • AMRAAM - Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile
  • AN - Airman
  • AO - Oiler
  • AOA - Angle of Attack
  • AOE - Fast Combat Support Ship
  • AOG - Gasoline Tanker
  • AOR - Replenishment Oiler
  • AOT - Transport Oiler
  • AP - Transport
  • APFSDS - Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot
  • APL - Barracks Craft
  • APO - Armed Services Post Office
  • AR - Repair Ship
  • ARAD - Anti Radiation Missile (See HARM)
  • ARC - Cable Repairing Ship
  • ARD - Auxiliary Repair Dock
  • ARDM - Medium Auxiliary Repair Dry Dock
  • AREC - Air Element Coordinator
  • ARL - Small Repair Ship
  • ARS - Salvage Ship
  • AS - Submarine Tender
  • ASR - Submarine Rescue Ship
  • ASROC - Anti Submarine Rocket
  • ASTOVL - Advanced Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing
  • ASuW - Anti-Surface Warfare
  • ASuWC - Anti-Surface Warfare Commander
  • ASVAB - Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
  • ASW - Anti-Submarine Warfare
  • ASWC - Anti-Submarine Warfare Commander
  • ATC - Mini- Armored Troop Carrier
  • ATF - Fleet Ocean Tug
  • ATS - Salvage and Rescue Ship
  • AVB - Aviation Logistic Support Ship
  • AVT - Auxiliary Aircraft Landing Training Ship
  • AWACS - Airborne Warning and Control System
  • BARCAP - Barrier Combat Air Patrol (CAP)
  • BB - Battleship
  • BN - Bombardier/Navigator
  • BPDMS - Basic Point Defense Missile System
  • BUDS - Basic Underwater Demolitions School
  • CA - Heavy Cruiser, Gun armament
  • CAG - Commander Air Group
  • CAP - Combat Air Patrol
  • CAPTOR - Encapsulated Torpedo
  • CATOBAR - Catapult Assisted Takeoff But Arrested Recovery - a type of aircraft carrier (as opposed to STOVL or STOBAR carriers). U.S. CV/CVNs are CATOBAR carriers.
  • CDO - Command Duty Officer
  • CG - Guided Missile Cruiser
  • CGN - Guided Missile Cruiser (nuclear)
  • CIA - Central Intelligence Agency
  • CINC - Commander In Chief
  • CINCLANT - Commander in Chief, Atlantic
  • CINCLANTFLT - Commander In Chief, Atlantic Fleet (2nd Fleet)
  • CINCEUR - Commander In Chief, Europe
  • CINCNAVEUR - Commander In Chief, Naval Forces Europe (6th Fleet)
  • CINCPACFLT - Commander In Chief, Pacific Fleet (3rd and 7th Fleets)
  • CIWS - Close In Weapons System
  • CL - Light Cruiser, gun armament
  • CMC - Commandant of the Marine Corps
  • CNO - Chief of Naval Operations
  • COD - Carrier Onboard Delivery
  • COIN - Counterinsurgency
  • COMCARGRU - Commander Carrier Group
  • COMCRUDESGRU - Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group
  • COMDESRON - Commander Destroyer Squadron
  • COMINT - Communications Intelligence
  • COMNAVAIRLANT - Commander Naval Air Forces Atlantic
  • COMNAVAIRPAC - Commander Naval Air Forces Pacific
  • COMNAVAIRRESFOR - Commander Naval Air Reserve Force
  • COMNAVRESFOR - Commander Naval Reserve Force
  • COMNAVSURFRESFOR - Commander Naval Surface Reserve Force
  • COMPHIBGRU - Commander Amphibious Group
  • COMPHIBRON - Commander Amphibious Squadron
  • COMSUBRON - Commander Submarine Squandron
  • CPA - Closest Point of Approach
  • CV - Multi-purpose Aircraft Carrier
  • CVN - Multi-purpose Aircraft Carrier (nuclear)
  • CVS - ASW Aircraft Carrier
  • CVW - Carrier Air Wing
  • CWC - Composite Warfare Commander
  • DAMASK - Direct Attack Munition Affordable Seeker
  • DAS - Direct Air Support
  • DCNO - Deputy Chief of Naval Operations
  • DD - Destroyer
  • DDG - Guided Missile Destroyer
  • DEP - Delayed Entry Program
  • DEPTEMPO - Deployment Tempo
  • DFARS - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement
  • DICASS - Directional Command Active Sonobuoy System
  • DIFAR - Directional Finding and Ranging
  • DOD - Department Of Defense
  • DON - Department Of the Navy
  • DSA - Distant Support Area
  • DSMAC - Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation
  • DSRV - Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle
  • DSV - Deep Submergence Vehicle
  • EAM - Emergency Action Message
  • ECM - Electronic Counter Measures
  • ECCM - Electronic Counter-Counter Measures
  • ELINT - Electronics Intelligence
  • EMP - Electromagnetic Pulse
  • EOD - Explosive Ordinance Disposal
  • EOT - Engine Order Telegraph
  • ESM - Electronic Support Measures
  • ER - Extended Range
  • EW - Electronic Warfare
  • EWC - Electronic Warfare Coordinator
  • FASCAM - Family of Scatterable Mines
  • FBM - Fleet Ballistic Missile
  • FCCS - Fleet Command Centers
  • FF - Frigate
  • FFG - Guided Missile Frigate
  • FLIR - Forward Looking Infrared
  • FMF - Fleet Marine Force
  • FN - Fireman
  • FRS - Fleet Readiness Squadron
  • GLCM - Ground Launched Cruise Missile
  • HARM - High Speed Anti- Radiation Missile
  • HC - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron
  • HEAT - High Explosive Anti Tank
  • HESH - High Explosive Squash Head
  • HM - Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron
  • HMA - (Marine) Attack Helicopter Squadron
  • HMAL - (Marine) Attack/Light Helicopter Squadron
  • HMH - (Marine) Heavy Helicopter Squadron
  • HML - (Marine) Light Helicopter Squadron
  • HMM - (Marine) Medium Helicopter Squadron
  • HMX - (Marine) Helicopter Squadron
  • HS - Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron
  • HSL - Light Helicopter Anti- Submarine Squadron
  • HT - Helicopter Training Squadron
  • HUMINT - Human Intelligence
  • ICBM - Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
  • IR - Infrared Homing
  • IRDS - Infrared Detection System
  • JCS - Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • JDAM - Joint Direct Attack Munition
  • JSF - Joint Strike Fighter
  • JSOW - Joint Stand Off Weapon
  • JSTARS - Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System
  • LAMPS - Light Airborne Multipurpose System
  • LANTFLT - Atlantic Fleet
  • LAV - Light Armored Vehicle
  • LCAC - Landing Craft, Air Cushion
  • LCC - Amphibious Command Ship
  • LCM - Landing Craft, Mechanized
  • LCPL - Landing Craft, Personnel, Large
  • LCS - Littoral Combat Ship
  • LCU - Landing Craft, Utility
  • LCVP - Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel
  • LHA - Amphibious Assault Ship (general purpose)
  • LHD - Amphibious Assault Ship (multi-purpose)
  • LIC - Low Intensity Conflict
  • LKA - Amphibious Cargo Ship
  • LOFAR - Low Frequency Acquisition and Ranging
  • LOS - Line Of Sight
  • LPA - Amphibious Transport
  • LPD - Amphibious Transport Dock
  • LPH - Amphibious Assault Ship (helicopter)
  • LSD - Dock Landing Ship
  • LSSC - Light SEAL Support Craft
  • LST - Tank Landing Ship
  • LTA - Lighter Than Air
  • LWT - Amphibious Warping Tug
  • M - Aircraft Symbol- Missile Carrier or Multipurpose
  • MAC - Military Airlift Command
  • MAD - Magnetic Anomaly Detector
  • MAG - Marine Aircraft Group
  • MAGTF - Marine Air/Ground Task Force
  • MAJCOM - U.S. Air Force MAJor COMmand
  • MARV - Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle
  • MAU - Marine Amphibious Unit
  • MAW - Marine Aircraft Wing
  • MCM - Mine Countermeasures Ship
  • MEB - Marine Expeditionary Brigade
  • MEF - Marine Expeditionary Force
  • MEU - Marine Expeditionary Unit
  • MEU/SOC - Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Ops Capable
  • MHC - Mine Hunter, Coastal
  • MIRV - Multiple Independently Targeted Reentry Vehicles
  • MLRS - Multiple Launch Rocket System
  • MOS - Military Occupational Specialty
  • MOUT - Military Operations in Urban Terrain (urban combat)
  • MOVEREP - Movement Report
  • MPSRON - Maritime Pre-positioning Squadron
  • MR - Medium Range
  • MSB - Minesweeping Boat
  • MSC - Military Sealift Command
  • MSO - Minesweeper, Ocean
  • MSSC - Medium SEAL Support Craft
  • NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command
  • NAVFAC - Naval Facilities Command
  • NAVSAT - United States Navy Navigation Satellite System
  • NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
  • NAVSUP - Naval Supply Systems Command
  • NCA - National Command Authority
  • NCO - Non-Commissioned Officer
  • NEC - Navy Enlisted Classification
  • NFO - Naval Flight Officer
  • NFQT - Nuclear Field Qualification Test
  • NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • NOSIC - Naval Ocean Surveillance Information Center
  • NR - Submersible Research Vehicle (nuclear propelled)
  • NSA - National Security Agency
  • NTC - Naval Training Center
  • NTDS - Naval Tactical Data System
  • OOD - Officer Of the Deck
  • OPSEC - Operational Security
  • OPTEMPO - Operational Tempo
  • OSD - Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • OSIS - Ocean Surveillance System
  • OTC - Officer in Tactical Command
  • OTH - Over The Horizon
  • PACFLT - Pacific Fleet
  • PBR - River Patrol Craft
  • PBV - Post-Boost Vehicle
  • PCF - Patrol Craft (fast)
  • PDMS - Point Defense Missile System (such as the U.K. Sea Slug for ships)
  • PERSCOM - Personnel Command (Army)
  • PERSTEMPO - Personnel Tempo
  • PG - Patrol Gunboat
  • PGH - Patrol Gunboat, Hydrofoil
  • PGM - Precision Guided Munition
  • PHM - Guided Missile Patrol Combatant (Hydrofoil)
  • PHOTINT - Photographic intelligence
  • PHQ - Peacetime Headquarters (NATO HQ)
  • PIM - Position and Intended Movement
  • PIRAZ - Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone
  • PKO - Peace Keeping Operations
  • PLSO - Phonetic Letters Spelled Out (very meta. Example: Whisky Hotel Foxtrot?!?)
  • PO - Petty Officer
  • POMCUS - Prepositioned Overseas Materiel Configured to Unit Sets
  • POW - Prisoner Of War
  • PSYOP(S) - Psychological Operations
  • PSYWAR - Psychological Warfare
  • PWRMS - Prepositioned War Reserve Materiel Stocks
  • PZ - Pickup Zone
  • PZCO - Pickup Zone Control Officer
  • RAPCAP - Radar Picket Combat Air Patrol
  • RAPCON - Radar Approach CONtrol, U.S. Military air traffic control
  • RAST - Recovery Assistance and Traversing System
  • RBOC - Rapid Blooming Off-board Chaff
  • RDF - Radio Direction Finding
  • REC - Regional Evaluation Centers
  • RESCAP - Rescue Combat Air Patrol
  • RHA - Rolled Homogenous Armor
  • RIO - Radar Intercept Officer
  • ROE - Rules Of Engagement
  • RPV - Remotely Piloted Vehicle
  • RTC - Recruit Training Command
  • SAC - Strategic Air Command
  • SACLOS - Semi-Automatic Command to Line of Sight
  • SACEUR - Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO)
  • SACLANT - Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (NATO)
  • SAG - Surface Action Group
  • SALT - Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
  • SAM - Surface to Air Missile
  • SAN - Surface to Air Missile (Soviet designation)
  • SAR - Search And Rescue
  • SAU - Search Attack Unit
  • SC - Screen Coordinator
  • SCACS - Strategic Command And Control System (once known as PACCS, for Post-Attack Command and Control System)
  • SDI - Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars")
  • SDV - Swimmer Delivery Vehicle
  • SEAL - SEa Air Land - Navy Special Forces
  • SEC - Submarine Element Coordinator
  • SECDEF - Secretary of Defense
  • SECNAV - Secretary of the Navy
  • SES - Surface Effects Ship
  • SIGINT - Signals Intelligence
  • SINCGARS - Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
  • SLAM - Standoff Land Attack Missile
  • SLBM - Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile
  • SLEP - Service Life Extension Program
  • SLOC - Sea Line(s) Of Communication
  • SLWT - Side Loading Warping Tug
  • SOF - Special Operations Forces
  • SONAR - Sound Navigation And Ranging
  • SOSUS - Sound Surveillance System
  • SOW - Stand-Off Weapon
  • SPAWAR - Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
  • SRAM - Short Range Attack (Atomic?) Missile
  • SSK - Conventional submarine
  • SSBN - Ballistic Missile Submarine (nuclear)
  • SSC - Service School Command
  • SSM - Surface to Surface Missile
  • SSN - Attack Submarine (nuclear)
  • SSS - Strike Support Ship
  • STOBAR - Short TakeOff But Arrested Recovery - a type of aircraft carrier whose aircraft use those flight modes. These carriers use aircraft with enough power for short takeoffs, sometimes with a 'ski jump' assist, but which are not VTOL-capable and must land conventionally.
  • STOVL - Short TakeOff and Vertical Landing - a type of aircraft with those characteristics or an aircraft carrier which uses those modes as opposed to a CATOBAR or STOBAR carrier. The U.K. HMS Ark Royal, a 'ski jump' carrier, is STOVL as its air wing are all capable of vertical landing.
  • SURTASS - Surveillance Towed Array Sonar System
  • SVLA - Steered Vertical Line Array
  • SWCL - Special Warfare Craft, Light
  • SWCM - Special Warfare Craft, Medium
  • TACAIR - Tactical Air (tactical air forces or air power)
  • TACAMO - Take Charge And Move Out
  • TACAN - TACtical Air Navigation
  • TACOM - Tank and Automotive Command (Army)
  • TACON - Tactical Control
  • TACNUC - Tactical Nuclear Weapons
  • T-ACS - tactical auxiliary crane ship
  • TACTASS - Tactical Towed Array Sonar
  • T-AGOS - tactical auxiliary general ocean surveillance
  • T-AH - hospital ship
  • T-AKR - fast logistics ship
  • TARCAP - Target Combat Air Patrol
  • TASM - Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile
  • TASS - Towed Array Sonar System
  • TE - Task Element
  • TEC - Task Element Commander
  • TEL - Transporter Erecter/Launcher (missile carrying truck)
  • TERCOM - Terrain Contour Matching
  • TF - Task Force
  • TFC - Task Force Commander
  • TG - Task Group
  • TGC - Task Group Commander
  • TLAM-C - Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (conventional)
  • TLAM-D - Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (submunition dispensing warhead)
  • TLAM-N - Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (nuclear)
  • TOW - Tube-Launched Optically Tracked Wire Guided
  • TRADOC - U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
  • TWS - Tomahawk Weapons System
  • UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • UCAS - Unmanned Combat Air System
  • USA - United States Army
  • USAF - United States Air Force
  • USAFA - United States Air Force Academy
  • USCG - United States Coast Guard
  • USGCA - United States Coast Guard Academy
  • USMA - United States Military Academy ("West Point")
  • USMC - United States Marine Corps
  • USMCR - United States Marine Corps Reserve
  • USMMA - United States Merchant Marine Academy
  • USN - United States Navy
  • USNA - United States Naval Academy
  • USNI - United States Naval Institute
  • USNR - United States Naval Reserve
  • USS - United States Ship
  • VA - Attack Squadron
  • VAK - Tactical Aerial Refueling Squadron
  • VAQ - Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron
  • VAW - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron
  • VC - Fleet Composite Squadron
  • VCNO - Vice Chief of Naval Operations
  • VDS - Variable Depth Sonar
  • VERTREP - Vertical Replenishment
  • VF - Fighter Squadron
  • VFA - Strike-Fighter Squadron
  • VLA - Vertical Launched ASROC
  • VLF - Very Low Frequency
  • VLS - Vertical Launch System
  • VMA - (Marine) Attack Squadron
  • VMAAW - (Marine) Attack (All Weather) Squadron
  • VMAQ - (Marine) Electronic Warfare Squadron
  • VMFA - (Marine) Fighter-Attack Squadron
  • VMFP - (Marine) Photo Reconnaissance Squadron
  • VMGR - (Marine) Refueling-Transport Squadron
  • VMO - (Marine) Observation Squadron
  • VP - Patrol Squadron
  • VQ - Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron
  • VR - Fleet Logistics Support Squadron
  • VRC - Fleet Logistics Support (COD) Squadron
  • VS - Air Anti-Submarine Squadron
  • VSTOL - Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing
  • VT - Training Squadron
  • WFCI - Fast Coastal Interceptor
  • WHEC - High Endurance Cutter
  • WIX - Training Cutter
  • WMEC - Medium Endurance Cutter
  • WORKTEMPO - Workload tempo
  • WPB - Patrol Boat
  • WSES - Surface Effects Ship
  • WTGB - Harbor Ice Breaker
  • YCV - Aircraft Transportation Lighter
  • YD - Floating Crane
  • YDT - Diving Tender
  • YF - Covered Lighter (self propelled)
  • YFB - Ferry Boat or Launch
  • YFD - Yard Floating Dry Dock
  • YFN - Covered Lighter (non-self propelled)
  • YFNB - Large Covered Lighter
  • YFND - Dry Dock Companion Craft
  • YFNX - Lighter (special-purpose)
  • YFP - Floating Power Barge
  • YFRN - Refrigerated Covered Lighter
  • YFRT - Range Tender
  • YFU - Harbor Utility Craft
  • YGN - Garbage Lighter
  • YLC - Salvage Lift Crane
  • YM - Dredge (self propelled)
  • YMN - Dredge (non-self propelled)
  • YN - Yeoman (Secretary-type)
  • YNG - Gate Craft
  • YO - Fuel Oil Barge (self propelled)
  • YOG - Gasoline Barge (self propelled)
  • YON - Gasoline Barge (non-self propelled)
  • YOS - Oil Storage Barge (non-self propelled)
  • YP - Patrol Craft, Training
  • YPD - Floating Pile Driver
  • YR - Floating Workshop
  • YRB - Repair and Berthing Barge
  • YRBM - Repair, Berthing, and Messing Barge
  • YRDH - Floating Dry Dock Workshop (Hull)
  • YRDM - Floating Dry Dock Workshop (Machine)
  • YRST - Salvage Craft Tender
  • YTB - Large Harbor Tug
  • YTL - Small Harbor Tug
  • YTM - Medium Harbor Tug
  • YTT - Torpedo Trials Craft
  • YW - Water Barge (self propelled)
  • YWN - Water Barge (non-self propelled)

...more to come!

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