Military to Civilian Thesaurus


The following terms are organized by service, and only intended for civilian (non-government) resumes. This listing is also intended to be inclusive of the National Guard and Merchant Marines. It draws from the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms and related references from the respective services.

This list is intended only to suggest possible translations. Please use it as a guide. It is not intended to indicate mandatory translations or suggest applicability in all instances. The user must interpolate appropriate application given the specific nature of that individual’s unique circumstances. A ‘one size fits all’ approach does not apply to resumes.

Finally, this list admittedly only scratches the surface when it comes to military terminology. Please provide additional suggestions via the form at the bottom of this page.

Legend: (adj) = adjective      (adv) = adverb      (n) = noun      (v) = verb

Not Service-Specific

Military TermTranslated Civilian Term
About faceTurn around
Action OfficerAnalyst
Aide-de-campExecutive assistant
All handsEveryone in the organization
ArmorerWeapons specialist
BarracksLiving quarters
Basic loadInitial allocation
BilletRole or job
BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front)Main Point
Budgeting and programmingBudgeting
Buffer zoneSafety zone
Bulk cargoCargo
Bulk petroleum productPetroleum
Bulk storageStorage
Chain of commandOrganizational hierarchy
Civilian vendorsSuppliers
Class IFood
Class IIClothing
Class IIIFuel
Class IVConstruction materials
Class IXRepair parts
Class VAmmunition
Class VIIIMedical items
Combat or warConflict
Combat loadRequired allocation
Combat powerDisruptive force
Combat service supportSustainment
Combat supportAssistance
Combatant commandMajor division (of the enterprise)
Combined armsIntegrated
Command (n)Organization
Command (v)Direct or order
Command and controlAuthority and direction
Command authorityAuthority
Command structureHierarchy
Commander, Commanding OfficerSupervisor, leader, chief operations officer
Commander’s estimateAssessment
Commander’s intentPurpose
Common itemEquipment
Concept of operationsPlan
Contingency operationsOperations
Course of actionPlan or option
CoverHeadgear or protection
DependentsSpouse and/or children
Direct supportSupport
Displaced personEvacuee or refugee
Drop zoneLanding area
Economy of forceEfficient distribution
Electronic reconnaissanceReconnaissance
Employment (v)Use
Essential taskTask
Explosive ordnance disposalOrdnance disposal
External audiencePublic
Fire supportWeapon support
Fixed wing aircraftPlane
Force managementOrganization management
Force structureOrganizational structure
Forward areaNear combat zone
General supportSupport
Higher headquartersLeadership
High-payoff targetCritical target
Honor graduateValedictorian
Human intelligenceIntelligence
Implied taskTask
InstructorFacilitator, professor, teacher
Interorganizational cooperationCooperation
Joint (adj)Coordinated or multi-service
J-5Business plans
J-8Financial management
J-9Public Affairs
Lock it upBe quiet
Medical treatment facilityHospital or clinic
Message (v)Communicate
Meteorological and oceanographic environmentGlobal environment
Military equipmentEquipment
Military ExperienceProfessional Experience
Military Sealift CommandTransportation organization
Military vanContainer
MissionTask or duty
Mission-oriented protective posture gearProtective equipment
Morale, welfare, and recreationRecreation
Mutual supportSupport
No-strike listProtected objects
Non-commissioned officer (NCO)Manager, supervisor
Officer of the deckDesignated supervisor
Officer-in-charge (OIC) / Non-commissioned Officer-in-charge (NCOIC)Supervisor
OperationAction or activity
Operation [Code Name], Task Force [Code Name]Military operation, exercise
Operation orderDirective
Operation planPlan
Operational controlControl
Operational environmentConditions or circumstances
Operational readinessCapability
Operations securitySecurity
Order of battleDisposition
Partner nationAlly
Pass-in-reviewMilitary parade
Permanent Change of Station (PCS)Relocation
Plans OfficerOperational Planner
Positive controlControl
Precision-guided munitionSmart weapon or laser-guided weapon
Priority intelligence requirementInformation need
Privately Owned Vehicle (POV)Vehicle or car or truck
Program Objective Memorandum (POM)Budget allocation
RackBunk, Bed
ReconnaissanceData collection, analysis
Red team (n)Competitive intelligence team
Red team (v)Contingency planning
RegulationsGuidance, policies, instructions
Rotary wing aircraftHelicopter
Scheme of maneuverPlan
Service membersEmployees, staff, personnel
Situation reportUpdate
SpearheadedLed, enabled, directed, ran, controlled, managed, initiated
Special operationsCovert operations
Specified taskTask
Spot reportReport
StovepipeSilo, hierarchical organizational structure
SubordinatesEmployees, staff
Theater of operationsOperational area
Temporary Duty (TDY)Business Travel
Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)Military law
Unity of commandSingle authority
Warning orderWarning
v/rRespectfully, Very respectfully
Weapon systemWeapon or equipment
Winning hearts and mindsSocial sentiment analysis, branding, stakeholder analysis


Submit Thesaurus Recommendation

    See: “Joint Publication 1-02, DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,” Defense Technical Information Center, July 2017, accessed August 5, 2017,

    See: “ADRP 1-02 TERMS AND MILITARY SYMBOLS,” HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, September 2013, accessed August 5, 2017,

    See: “Marine Corps Supplement to the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms; MCRP 1-10.2,” US Marine Corps, August 19, 2013, accessed November 2, 2017,  

    See: “NAVY SUPPLEMENT TO THE DOD DICTIONARY OF MILITARY AND ASSOCIATED TERMS NTRP 1-02,” Defense Technical Information Center, June 2012, accessed August 5, 2017,

    See: “AIR FORCE  SUPPLEMENT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DICTIONARY OF MILITARY AND ASSOCIATED TERMS, Air Force Doctrine Document 1-02 Change 1,” LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education, January 6, 2012, accessed August 5, 2017,  

    See: “Glossary of Bridge Terms,” US Coast Guard, accessed August 5, 2017,  See also: “List of Commonly Used Coast Guard Acronyms,” United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Ninth Coast Guard District – Central Region, June 2005, accessed August 19, 2017, See also: “US Coast Guard Publication 1: Doctrine for the US Coast Guard,” US Coast Guard, February 2014, 95-99, accessed August 20, 2017,