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; Consultant
Administrative NCOAdministrator
After Action Review (AAR)Review; Performance review; Postmortem; Debrief
Aide-de-campExecutive assistant
ALCONAll concerned
AlibiAdditional or unshared thought
All handsEveryone in the organization
Assistant class leaderSupervisor
Area of concentration (AOC)Career field; Specialty; Function
ArmorerWeapons specialist
ArsenalDepot; Stockpile; Weaponry
BarracksLiving quarters; Facilities
Basic loadInitial allocation
Battle drillRehearsal
Battle spaceOperating area
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; essential equipment
Combat powerDisruptive force
Combat service supportSustainment
Combat supportAssistance
Combat training / skillsSkills; competencies
Combatant commandMajor division (of the enterprise); international operations headquarters
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 inquiryInvestigation
Commander’s intentPurpose
Commander's training objectivesGoals
Common Access Card (CAC)Badge; employee ID
Common itemEquipment
Concept of operationsPlan
Contingency operationsOperations
Continuity of OperationsSynchronicity
Course of actionPlan; option; decision
CoverHeadgear or protection
DA pamphletPolicy, instructions
DeactivationClosure; terminated operations
Decision supportStrategic planning
DependentsSpouse and/or children
DeploymentTemporary assignment
DeployableFit for duty
DeputyAssistant; delegate; second-in-command
DFAC (Dining Facility)Cafeteria
Direct supportSupport
DirectorateLeaders; board of directors
Displaced personEvacuee or refugee
DoctrinePolicies; principles
Drill sergeantInstructor; trainer
Drop zoneLanding area
Economy of forceEfficient distribution
Electronic reconnaissanceReconnaissance
Employment (v)Use
Essential taskTask
Executive officerAssistant manager
Explosive ordnance disposalOrdnance disposal
External audiencePublic
Field radio operatorCommunications technician
Fire supportWeapon support
Fixed wing aircraftPlane
Force managementOrganization management
Force protectionOrganizational protection; Protection
Force structureOrganizational structure
Forward areaNear combat zone
Full spectrum operationsOperations
GarrisonBase; post
Garrison commanderBase landlord; Post landlord
General supportSupport
Hand receipt holderOwner
Higher headquartersLeadership
High-payoff targetCritical target
Honor graduateValedictorian
Human intelligenceIntelligence
Implied taskTask
InstructorFacilitator, professor, teacher
Interorganizational cooperationCooperation
Joint (adj)Coordinated or multi-service
Joint OperationInter-service operation
Joint Task ForceInter-service organization
J-5Business plans
J-8Financial management
J-9Public Affairs
Judge Advocate General (JAG)Lawyer; Attorney; Prosecutor; Investigator
LeaveVacation; time off; PTO (personal time off)
Line of Duty InvestigationInvestigation
Lines of EffortParallel efforts, initiatives
Lock it upBe quiet
MedalAward, honor, decoration, accolade
Medical treatment facility (aka, Military treatment facility)Hospital or clinic
Message (v)Communicate
Meteorological and oceanographic environmentGlobal environment
Military assistance to civilian authoritiesAssistance, support
Military construction (MILCON)Construction
Military equipmentEquipment
Military ExperienceProfessional Experience
Military objective / ObjectiveGoal or aim
Military orderOrder, command, direction
Military Personnel Office (MILPO)Personnel center, Human Resources (HR)
Military PoliceLaw enforcement, police
Military Sealift CommandTransportation organization
Military van (MILVAN)Container
MissionTask or duty
Mission Essential Task List (METL)Critical tasks
Mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP) gearProtective equipment
Morale, welfare, and recreationRecreation
Mutual supportSupport
No-strike listProtected objects
Non-commissioned officer (NCO)Manager, supervisor
Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) AcademyManagement training
Non-Commissioned Officer Evaluation Report (NCOER)Evaluation report
Officer-in-charge (OIC) / Non-commissioned Officer-in-charge (NCOIC)Supervisor
Officer Evaluation Report, Officer Efficiency Report (OER)Annual review, annual evaluation
OperationAction or activity
Operation [Code Name], Task Force [Code Name]Military operation, exercise
Operations order (OPORD, OPORDER)Plan, directive
Operational planPlan
Operational controlControl
Operational environmentConditions or circumstances, ecosystem
Operational readinessCapability, readiness
Operational securitySecurity
Operational supportSupport
Operational tempo (OPTEMPO)rate of use
Oral communicationspeech
Order of battleDisposition
Partner nationAlly
Pass-in-reviewMilitary parade
Permanent Change of Station (PCS)Relocation
Personnel Action Center (PAC)Personnel administration center
Personnel SpecialistPersonnel staff, HR staff
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
Project officerProject manager
Rack (n)Bunk, Bed
Rack (v)Sleep
Radio operatorCommunications technician
ReconnaissanceData collection, analysis
Red team (n)Competitive intelligence team
Red team (v)Contingency planning
RegulationsGuidance, policies, instructions
Rotary wing aircraftHelicopter
Scheme of maneuverPlan
Section chiefTeam leader
Service membersEmployees, staff, personnel
Situation reportUpdate, report
SpearheadedLed, enabled, directed, ran, controlled, managed, initiated
Special operationsCovert operations
Specified taskTask
Spot reportReport
StovepipeSilo, hierarchical organizational structure
SubordinatesEmployees, staff, associates, team members
Supply Support Activity (SSA)Supply operations
Tango MikeThanks much
Theater of operationsOperational area
Temporary Duty (TDY)Business Travel
Training objectiveLearning objective or goal
Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)Military law
Unity of commandSingle authority
Verbal communicationspeech
War CollegeExecutive leadership school
Warfighter Exercise (WFX)Training seminar
Warfighting functionCritical element
WargamingContingency planning
Warning orderWarning
v/rRespectfully, Very respectfully
Weapon systemWeapon or equipment
Winning hearts and mindsSocial sentiment analysis, branding, stakeholder analysis
Written communicationwriting


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,

    See: "Air Force & Space Force Almanac 2022," Air Force Magazine, June / July 2022, pp 167-168, accessed October 1, 2023, See also: "Space Doctrine Publication (SDP) 4-0," Sustainment Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM), December 2022, accessed October 1, 2023,,%2C%20from%2C%20and%20to%20space.&text=Access%20to%20and%20the%20ability,are%20vital%20to%20national%20interests. See also: "Space Doctrine Publication (SDP) 1-0 Personnel, United States Space Force (USSF), September 2022, accessed October 1, 2023,

    See: "Military (Jargon) to Civilian Translations," San Fracisco Federal Executive Board, accessed October 1, 2023,