The military has its own special language. Acronyms are used as a fast and convenient way of conveying information among Soldiers. Acronyms are usually specific to the Army and, through the years, have become part of the Army culture. The following list (while not all inclusive) explains some common acronyms used by the Army.
1SG - First Sergeant
The ranking enlisted Soldier in a company.
AAFES - Army and Air Force Exchange Service
Part of the military retail store system. Includes the Post Exchange or PX.
AC - Active Component
Organizations in the military that are on continuous active duty as opposed to the Reserve Components, which are usually on active duty only during training.
ACS - Army Community Service
An organization usually found on Army posts that provides various services to Soldiers and their Families.
AER - Army Emergency Relief
A program that can provide limited financial assistance through loans or grants to qualifying individuals during times of emergency.
AFAP - Army Family Action Plan
Yearly conference to identify and fix problems with the local community and the Army as a whole.
AFN - American Forces Network
The DoD's own radio and TV network! Usually used in OCONUS locations.
AFTB - Army Family Team Building
A program, usually run by volunteers, that helps educate Family members about the Army. Online training is also available.
Advanced Individual Training
Training given to Soldiers, usually immediately following Basic Combat Training, that teaches them and qualifies them in a particular skill or occupational specialty (see MOS).
AWOL - Absent Without Leave
The unapproved absence from the normal place of duty.
BAH - Basic Allowance for Housing
Monies paid to Soldiers to help defray some of the costs of housing when the individual does not live in government provided housing.
Barracks - Living areas or dormitories
Where Soldiers who are not accompanied by Family members live.
BAS - Basic Allowance for Subsistence
Money paid to Soldiers to help defray the cost of purchasing food when they are not required to eat in a government provided dining facility.
BCT - Basic Combat Training
Training given to new enlisted Soldiers to give them basic knowledge of the Army and teach them basic Soldier skills.
BN - Battalion
A military organization usually exercising command and control of subordinate companies.
CDC - Child Development Center
A location that provides full, part-time, and hourly care for children from six weeks old to five years old.
CDR - Commander
The boss and person who is responsible for everything that does or does not happen within an organization.
CG - Commanding General
The general officer in charge of an organization.
CLASS VI (Class 6) - Package/Liquor Store
CO - Commanding Officer or Company
The officer in charge of an organization or an abbreviation for "company" that refers to the designation of a unit created to provide command and control over a group of people (often made up of several subordinate platoons).
COC - Chain of Command
A unit's leadership. These are the people who are in charge and other leaders, or who works for whom. The term is used to describe the level of leaders going in either direction, from the highest level leader down to the lowest or from the lowest up to the highest.
COLA - Cost of Living Allowance
Additional allowance provided in high cost of living areas overseas to help off set the difference in currency rates.
Grocery stores found on military installations.
CONUS - Continental United States
A location inside the 48 contiguous United States.
CYS - Child and Youth Services
Army programs that provide comprehensive child and youth programs for infants through 12th grade.
DA - Department of the Army
Sometimes refers to the entire Army organization, and sometimes used to refer to just the Headquarters Army staff who work in the Pentagon.
DEERS - Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System
Computer database for tracking information about Soldiers and Family members and their eligibility for access to services and benefits.
Dependent - Family Member
Someone who is recognized by the Army as being a member of the immediate Family of a Soldier.
DEROS - Date Estimated Return from Overseas
Date your Soldier is scheduled to end their overseas tour.
DFAC - Dining Facility
Large military cafeteria also know as a Mess Hall.
DFAS - Defense Finance and Accounting Service
The payroll arm for Department of Defense.
DHR - Directorate of Human Resources
Garrison directorate responsible for a wide range of human resources to include: ID cards, DEERS, Reassignments and more.
DOD - Department of Defense
The branch of government responsible for all of the armed services.
DoDEA - Department fo Defense Education Agency
A field activity of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, with a mission to Educate, Engage, and Empower each student to succeed in a dynamic world.
DODDS - Department of Defense Dependent School
Established to provide high quality education for authorized dependents of DoD personnel assigned overseas, and to provide enrollment on a space-available, tuition-paying basis for others identified and prioritized by the Secretary of Defense.
DPW - Directorate of Public Works
Installation directorate responsible for maintenance and upkeep of on post buildings and property.
DSN - Defense Switching Network
Official military phone system. Calling DSN numbers from civilian lines (i.e. cell phone, home phone) requires you to dial a separate number).
EFMP - Exceptional Family Member Program
A program that works with various agencies to provide services to Family members with special needs.
ETS - End Tour of Service
The date when the Soldier's contractual obligation for duty will be complete, and the Soldier can separate from the Army.
FMWR - Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation
Installation directorate with a wide ranging responsibility to provide entertainment, recreation and welfare services to the community.
FRG - Family Readiness Group
A group of people within a unit/organization who volunteer to provide Soldiers and Families support. The FRG helps information flow among its members, the chain of command, and participating community activities.
FTX - Field Training Exercise
A training event held in a field environment.
ID Card - Identification Card
A card issued by Department of Defense that is used for personal identification and for access to programs and benefits.
IET - Initial Entry Training
The first formal training a Soldier receives including Basic Combat Training (BCT) and the follow-on Advanced Individual Training (AIT) course.
MALT - Monetary Allowance in Leiu of Transportation
MALT is used as mileage reimbursement for Service members and their dependents during a PCS move when they drive.
Mess Hall - Military Dining Facility
A large military cafeteria also knon as a DFAC.
MOS - Military Occupational Specialty
A job classification, skill, or trade. Each has an alphanumerical representation and a title. For example, 11B is the MOS for an Infantryman.
MP - Military Police
The Army's police force.
MRE - Meal, Ready to Eat
These are complete, packaged meals that are usually provided to Soldiers in an operational (field) environment.
MTF - Military Treatment Facility
A health care facility, such as a clinic or hospital.
MWR - Morale, Welfare, and Recreation
Programs and activities that provide support to Soldiers and their Family members through such things as physical fitness facilities, libraries, unit level sports programs, youth activities, child development programs, arts and crafts skill development, outdoor recreation and golf courses, bowling lanes, and clubs.
NCO - Noncommissioned Officer
An enlisted person who has been promoted to the rank of corporal or sergeant and above.
OCONUS - Outside CONUS
A duty assignment outside the Continental United States.
OHA - Overseas Housing Allowance
The Overseas Housing Program enables military members assigned overseas to privately lease housing on the economy.
PCS - Permanent Change of Station
The physical move from one duty location to another.
POV - Privately Owned Vehicle
PX - Post Exchange
The retail stores run by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
Quarters - Housing
Place of residence of military personnel and their Family members.
SLO - School Liaison Officer
Installation employee who works directly with CYSS and Schools to provide support and information to students and parents.
SOFA - Status of Forces Agreement
Agreement between the USA and host nation regarding a wide range of issues including who is allowed to enter the country on military orders and for how long, etc.
SOP - Standing (or Standard) Operating Procedure
A set of instructions for handling a particular situation or process - the normal way of doing business.
TA-50 - Common Table of Allowance #50
The list of special clothing and equipment used by Soldiers when operating in the field; includes things like pistol belts, helmets, rucksacks, canteens, etc.
TDY - Temporary Duty
Duty performed at some location other than the permanently assigned location. A single TDY trip is usually limited to 179 days or less.
TLA - Temporary Lodging Allowance
The purpose of TLA is to partially reimburse a member for more than normal expenses incurred while occupying temporary lodgings and for meals obtained as a direct result of using temporary lodgings OCONUS.
TLE - Temporary Lodging Entitlement
To partially offset lodging and meal expenses when a member and/or dependents need to occupy temporary lodging in CONUS ICW a PCS.
TRICARE - Tri-Service Medical Care
The DoD medical and dental entitlement program for people in uniform and their Families.
UCMJ - Uniform Code of Military Justice
Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the military's set of laws. Like a civilian penal code, the UCMJ (1) defines crimes and lesser offenses recognized under military law and the boundaries of punishment for each offense, (2) provides the right of defense for the Soldier, and (3) provides for the manner under which each offense is brought before a commander or tried before a judge or panel (jury).
USO - United Services Organization
The USO is a private, nonprofit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to support the troops by providing morale, welfare and recreation-type services.