Military Terms and Acronyms

AAFES Army and Air Force Exchange Service; also called the BX

Covers the retail stores on the Air Force base available to authorized users

(someone who as a valid military ID card, e.g. active duty member, family

member, retiree, or spouse of a retiree).

AB Air Base (Overseas)

ABU Airman Battle Uniform

ABW Air Base Wing

Provides base operating support for an Air Force Base.

ACC Air Combat Command

Accompanied Tour Tour of duty with family members

ACSC Air Command and Staff College

AD Active Duty

ADSC Active Duty Service Commitment

Advanced Pay Payment before actually earned

AEF Air Expeditionary Force

Deployed Air Force wings, groups, and squadrons committed to a joint operation.

AETC Air Education Training Command

AFAF Air Force Assistance Fund

Annual campaign to raise money for four official Air Force charitable


AFAS Air Force Aid Society

Organization located at the A&FRC that provides emergency financial assistance

to active duty, retirees, and their family.

AFB Air Force Base

AFI Air Force Instruction (Regulations)

AFIT Air Force Institute of Technology

AFMC Air Force Materiel Command

A&FRC Airman & Family Readiness Center

Designs, develops, and conducts quality of life programs according to base and

community needs and capabilities. The A&FRC mission is to ensure resources

required to support the entire base are available and accessible.

AFRC Air Force Reserve Command

AFSC Air Force Specialty Code

Allotment Designated payment by member to bank or individual

Allowance Pay and special compensation

ALS Airman Leadership School

AMC Air Mobility Command

AMN Airman

ANG Air National Guard

APO Air Post Office (overseas)

ARC American Red Cross

Article 15 Disciplinary action

ASAP As Soon As Possible

AT Annual Tour


AWOL Absent Without Leave

When a military member is away from duty without authorized leave

BAH Basic Allowance for Housing

The intent of BAH is to provide uniformed service members accurate and

equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing

markets. Replaced Basic Allowance for Quarters or BAQ.

Barracks Where military members who are not accompanied by family members live (Also

known as dorms).

BAS Basic Allowance for Subsistence

Meant to offset costs for a member's meals. Each year it is adjusted based upon

the increase of the price of food as measured by the USDA food cost index.

Benefits Medical, dental, commissary, BX, etc

Blues Dress uniform

Butterbar Slang term applying to a Second Lieutenant because their rank insignia

are gold bars.

BX/PX Base Exchange (Managed through AAFES)

CC Commander

The officer in charge of an entire unit of military members.

CCAF Community College of the Air Force

CCC Command Chief Master Sergeant

CCF First Sergeant

CDC Career Development Course

CDC Child Development Center

CE Civil Engineer

CFC Combined Federal Campaign

Annual charity fundraising for multiple charities

Chain of Command This is the leadership structure of the military established rank for both

enlisted members and officers.

Chaplain Military minister, priest, rabbi, imam or pastor

Civilian Refers to civilian employees who work for the Department of Defense.

COB Close of Business

Code of Conduct Rules by which military members must live

COLA Cost of Living Allowance

Commissary The base grocery store available to authorized users (someone who has a

valid military ID card, e.g. active duty member, family member, retiree, or

spouse of a retiree). No sales tax is added but there is a small surcharge.

CONUS Continental United States

Forty-eight adjoining states and the District of Columbia (does not include Alaska

or Hawaii)

Court martial Trial system within the military

CSS Commander’s Support Staff (Squadron’s main administrative office)

DeCA Defense Commissary Agency (See Commissary)

DEERS Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System

Registration system for benefits for military members and their family


Deployment Relocation of a military unit/member for operation purposes outside the

United States for an extended and specific period of time.

DEROS Date Estimate Return from Overseas

DFAS Defense Finance and Accounting Service

Organization which monitors military pay

Dining In Formal dinner for military members only

Dining Out Formal dinner for military members and spouses

DITY Do-It-Yourself Move

DOB Date of Birth

DoD Department of Defense

DoDDS Department of Defense Dependent Schools

DOR Date of Rank

DOS Date of Separation

DPP Deferred Payment Plan

DSN Defense Switched Network

Worldwide military telephone system

EAF Expeditionary Aerospace Force

EFMP Exceptional Family Member Program

Enrollment program that works with other military and civilian agencies to

provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing,

educational, medical, and personnel services to families with special needs.

EFMP-S Exceptional Family Member Program – Support

Housed in the Airman & Family Readiness Center and designed to provide

support to those with special needs.

Enlisted An individual who is not commissioned (see NCO); either an Airman (rank

of E-1 to E-4) or an NCO (non-commissioned officer, rank of E-5 to E-9).

EPR Enlisted Performance Report

ESC Enlisted Spouses Club

Esprit de Corps Morale within unit or organization

ETS Expiration of Term of Service

Scheduled date of separation from active duty

Family Advocacy Program that addresses family issues and concerns.

Field Grade Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, and Colonels

First Sergeant A key member of every squadron, the First Sergeant (or “Shirt” as

sometimes called) is a senior NCO (see below), who has received specialized

training in dealing with “people issues.” The First Sergeant works directly

for and with the Squadron Commander. He/she is knowledgeable about

on-base resources available to assist in finding answers/solving problems,

as well as managing the recognition of active duty military members’

superior performances. The First Sergeant also responds to emergencies

within his/her squadron.

FCC Family Child Care

Child care provided in a licensed provider’s home.

FLT Flight

Formation Gathering of military in a prescribed way


GI Bill Education entitlement

GOV Government Owned Vehicle

GS General Schedule (Civil Service employee)

GSU Geographically Separated Unit

HAWC Health and Wellness Center

HHG Household Goods

Hold Baggage Unaccompanied baggage or personal belongings

Housing Office Responsible for managing base housing

HQ Headquarters (Generally Wing Commander’s office)

IAW In Accordance With

ID Card Identification card issued to legally recognized member of military family.

IG Inspector General

JAG Judge Advocate General (also known as the Base Legal Office)

K-9 Dogs specifically trained for military service; also known as Military

Working Dogs (MWD).

Key Spouse Outreach program that uses Squadron Commander- or First Sergeantappointed

spouses in units to help address concerns and issues of the

families. These volunteers offer support, information and a personal

connection to available resources, as well as act as the liaison between the

Commander and the families.

Last 4 The last four numbers of a person’s Social Security number.

Leave Approved time away from duty.

LES Leave and Earnings Statement

Pay stub

Mess Dress Formal attire for the military member

MFLC Military and Family Life Consultant

MPS Military Personnel Section (formerly MPF/Military Personnel Flight)

MRE Meal, Ready to Eat

MTF Military Treatment Facility (Base Clinic/Hospital)

MWR Morale, Welfare, and Recreation

NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NCO Non-Commissioned Officer

Enlisted, an individual who is not commissioned, rank of E-5 to E-9

NCOA Non-Commissioned Officer Academy

NCOIC Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge

NLT Not Later Than

OCONUS Outside the Continental United States

Overseas tour, INCLUDES Alaska and Hawaii

Officer An individual who is commissioned, holding the rank of Second Lieutenant

(O-1) through General (O-10).

OIC Officer in Charge

OJT On the Job Training

OPR Officer Performance Report

OPR Office of Primary Responsibility


OPSEC Operational Security

OPTEMPO Operational Tempo

The pace of an operation or operations; includes all of the activities the unit is

conducting; can be a single activity or series of operations.

ORI Operational Readiness Inspection

Orders Spoken or written instructions to military/civilian members (usually for

TDY, deployments, or PCS)

OSC Officers’ Spouses Club

OSI Office of Special Investigations

OTS Officer Training School

PCM Primary Care Manager (Assigned by Medical Group)

PCS Permanent Change of Station

Reassignment to a different duty station

Per Diem Compensation for the extra expenses incurred while on temporary duty

away from one’s home station.

PFMP Personal Financial Management Program

Provides personal financial counseling to all military branches including retirees

and widows of service members and GS civilians. The goal of PFMP is the creation

of a comprehensive financial management assistance service which will guide

individuals and families through the lifecycle of financial wellness.

PME Professional Military Education

POA Power of Attorney

Legal document permitting a person to act on behalf of another.

POC Point of Contact

POV Privately Owned Vehicle

PRF Promotion Recommendation Form (for officers)

Protocol Military customs and courtesies

Rank Official title/grade of member

Remote An overseas assignment, usually 12 to 18 months; in which families cannot

accompany the active-duty member.

Retreat Flag lowering ceremony at end of the day

Reveille Flag raising ceremony at the beginning of the day

RIF Reduction in Force

ROTC Reserve Officer Training Corps

SBP Survivor’s Benefit Plan

SF Security Forces

SGLI Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance

Shirt/First Shirt First Sergeant

SME Subject Matter Expert

SNCOA Senior NCO Academy

SOP Standard Operating Procedure

Sortie A flight or single flying mission

SOS Squadron Officer School

Space A Space Available (Referring to available seats on aircraft/billeting)

Sponsor A person assigned to assist an in-bound or newly arrived person to a base.


Squadron An Air Force unit which has a First Sergeant and a Commander.

Squadrons are usually identified both numerically, and by function. For

example: 18FSS (18th Force Support Squadron)

SSN/SSAN Social Security Number

STEP Stripes for Exceptional Performers (for enlisted)

TAP Transition Assistance Program

Established to meet the needs of separating service members during their period

of transition into civilian life by offering job-search assistance and related


TDY Temporary Duty

Relocation of a military member from their base of assignment to a different duty

location or station, such as attending Air Force Leadership School, or specific

technical training, for a specific period of time.

Tech School Technical School

Formal school training for a military job.

TLA Temporary Living Allowance

TLE Temporary Lodging Expenses

TLF Temporary Living Facility

TMO Traffic Management Office

Organization responsible to handle the movement of a military member’s

belongings to a new duty location.

TRICARE The health insurance program for military members and their families.

TSP Thrift Savings Plan

UCI Unit Compliance Inspection

UCMJ Uniform Code of Military Justice

Military’s set of laws

Unit Group of military members, both officer and enlisted personnel, assigned to

work together with a common vision, mission, and goals.

USAF United States Air Force

USAFE United States Air Force –Europe

VA Veteran’s Administration

WAPS Weighted Airman Promotion System (for enlisted)

WIC Women, Infants, and Children’s program; also available Overseas.

Wing Down Day A day off for military members, not counted against leave.