Military terminology


Military terminology refers to the terms and language of military organizations and personnel as belonging to a discrete category. As distinguishable by their usage in military doctrine, they serve to depoliticise, dehumanise, or otherwise abstract discussion about its operations from an actual description thereof.

Common understandingEdit

The operational pressure for uniform understanding has developed since the early 20th century with the importance of joint operations between different services (army, navy, air force) of the same country. International alliances and operations, including peacekeeping,[1] have added additional complexity. For example, the NATO alliance now maintains a large dictionary[2] of common terms for use by member countries. Development work is also taking place[3] between NATO and Russia on common terminology for extended air defence, in English, French and Russian.


Some claim military terms serve to depoliticise, dehumanize, or otherwise abstract discussion about operations from an actual description thereof. Similar to "legal terminology" and related to "political terminology", military terms are known for an oblique tendency to incorporate technical language. In many cases, it reflects a need to be precise. It can also reflect a perceived need for operational security, giving away no more information than needed. It can also serve to disguise or distort meaning as with doublespeak. "Kinetic activity" as a buzzword for combat, in use since the inception of the War on Terror, has been criticized as a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy for murder.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Colonel Andrei Demurenko and Professor Alexander Nikitin, Basic Terminology and Concepts in International Peacekeeping Operations: An Analytical Review (translated Robert R. Love) in Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement, Volume 6, Summer 1997, Frank Cass, London accessed at Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, US [1] July 28, 2006
  2. ^ DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms accessed on Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), US website, July 28, 2006
  3. ^ Robert Bell, Ballistic Missile Threats:A NATO-Russia Strategic Challenge in Krasnaya Zvezda, Feb 23, 2003 accessed at NATO on-line Library [2] July 28, 2006
  4. ^ Woodward, Paul (February 14, 2012). "The U.S.-Israeli don't-ask-don't-tell policy on murder". War in Context. Archived from the original on March 6, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2013. One man uses a bomb to kill another and he’s a terrorist. Another does the same and it’s a form of kinetic activity. I guess that makes the latter a kineticist.

External linksEdit

  • Glossary of Military Terms & Slang from the Vietnam War