FM-101 Operations Terms (revised)
A Concise Catalogue of Recent Doctrinal Term Additions
New doctrinal terms for the U.S. military are developed everyday
in the armed services. These new terms put things in their proper
perspective. Most are eloquent and protect you in today's PC
environment. Some are more apropros than others. Here are a few
that are relevant in today's services....
The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the
battalion/wing level. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere
are generally profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the
problems they were designed to solve.
A leader who demonstrates comedy to effectively wow the seniors
to believe he actually has operational knowledge of the task at
hand. In actuality, he has no clue, and truly doesn't understand
the training criteria.
The process by which some people seem to absorb success and
promotability by kissing up to the commander. This process can be
observed first-hand whenever senior field grade officers are near
Aviation Continuation Pay :
The $16,308 a month paycheck you'll earn when you get out and
continue to fly until you're a senior captain at United Airlines.
A term used to cover a staff failure to properly wargame a course
of action. A term used by Infantry showing how "Hope" is a method
incorporated to defeat the enemy. "If the enemy gets through the
engagement area, we have Delta Company placed here – to
back-stop the Battalion defense."
Utterly confused; being characterized by a completely genuine and
profound disorientation. The perpetual state of all support units
Bells and Whistles :
An inordinate amount of "cheese" (PowerPoint graphics/animation),
superfluous and not required, used to communicate necessary
information to one or more individuals or groups. Commonly
associated with "Canine and Equine Theater".
Blah, Blah, Blah :
Short for "You know what I'm going to say anyway, so I'm not
going to waste our time to actually say it." Also expressed as
"Yada Yada Yada" or "Homina Homina" or "Humma Humma Humma"; not
to be confused with "Hooah" or "Oorah".
Sitting around the headquarters discussing why a suspense was
missed or a mission failed and who was responsible. Typical
activity among general staffs.
A term used in response to orders issued from a higher commander.
As in "I am the counter-reconnaissance company and the battalion
reserve at the same time – I got boned!"
Any large quantity; a lot. Slightly less than a shitload; being
the relative influence of general officers, or the extra load
senior NCOs can carry. Also used to refer to the number of
vehicles in a recon cluster. Also refers to how much artillery is
necessary to disable an enemy force.
Canine and Equine Theater / Canine and Equestrian Theater :
The stratified presentation of idealized strategy, using as many
simulators and as much jargon as possible, interlarded with
dubious statistics and codewords, so as to impress any visiting
dignitary or invited VIP with the unit's miraculous capability.
Old soldiers will recognize this performance as a "Dog and Pony
Chainsaw Met :
A team brought in from a high headquarters to reduce your
manpower authorizations, leaving the organization and unit
leadership with clean hands.
Level of preparedness for a briefing or presentation that
indicates the number (and rank) of officers attempting to wedge
an OER bullet into a training exercise. The level of cheesecon
generally increases exponentially the closer the exercise. The
upper-limit of cheesecon is unknown and the high-water mark
increases with each visit of an important foreign national or the
National War College.
The 542 slide briefing that results at the conclusion of the MDMP
that outlines what can be clearly said in a well-written
paragraph (formerly known as the Commander's intent and/or
concept of the operation). This is the Force XXI cause of the
"Fog of War."
Cheetah Flips :
The course of action development phase of the Military Decision
Making Process (MDMP) in an imagined crisis environment (often
replicated by headquarters during daily operations), such as
those actions immediately following orders for a Division Main or
any Corps CP to actually move location, even in peacetime on a
dry parade field.
Combined Arms :
"The synchronized or simultaneous application of several arms,
such as infantry, armor, artillery, engineers, air defense, and
aviation to achieve an effect on the enemy that is greater than
if each arm was used against the enemy in sequence." [IAW FM
101-5-1] In the real world this means that an entire infantry
battalion will be held in place to die at the hands of an angry
Krasnovian with a mortar tube while the FSO diligently flips
through a 100-page synch-matrix to determine the EFST for this
particular sub-phase of the operation.
Critical Terrain :
Terrain that if not seized, secured, grabbed, taken, or camped
out on means that you are screwed. A new category to describe
terrain in FM 34-130 (Critical – Decisive Key).
Career Restricting Move; used among officers to describe
ill-advised activity. Trashing core values or discussing civilian
sector employment/pay scales while your commander is within
earshot is serious CRM.
Cut a Chogie :
A masterful maneuver for highly trained and dispersed personnel,
who, amidst operational stresses, exhibit initiative and
resourcefulness in the field improvisation of an interval
short-cut; which is sometimes characterized as a retrograde
echelon preparatory to retrenchment.
A polite term generally used the following way in briefings: "Yes
sir, we need to deconflict that land piece for the occupation of
the assembly areas." This actually means: "No sir, I did not
think about the problem enough to realize that I couldn't fit the
entire brigade into one square kilometer. I'll go unbefuckle
myself as soon as possible."
Deja Doo-Doo / Déjà Doo-Doo :
The disagreeable feeling you've heard this bullshit before.
Usually heard during USRs, QTBs, etc. Old soldiers will recognize
this as "echo".
Dick Dance :
When two guys work together on a mission and never get it done
because both of them want to lead.
To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. A common event in
most organizations, "I've been dilberted again. The old man
changed my leave schedule for the fourth time this month because
his wife couldn't make up her mind."; as derived from the
experiences of Dilbert, the geek-in-hell comic strip character.
Drive By :
The act of simultaneously fixing and bypassing an enemy unit.
Engaging the enemy while bypassing as far away and fast as
possible from the objective; which meets, according to Armor
School doctrine, both the "destruction" and "occupation" criteria
given in the OPORD. Old soldiers will recognize this as
"recon-by-fire". This term may also refer to when a senior
officer briefly stops by your unit or motorpool.
A dismounted operation involving soldiers on the ground
maximizing the amount of terrain they can cover or disperse over.
Commonly known as the "planning process". Also known as the
"backwards planning process" in Airborne units just alerted to
make a night jump 200k behind enemy lines, when success relies on
link-up and relief based on an attack by I Corps for link up at
the airhead. A term borrowed from fanatic religious rituals in
which participants lash themselves into bleeding exhaustion.
A really cool sounding non-doctrinal term used to maneuver a unit
from one location to another. Used most often on command nets
when you don't have a clue where you are, or how the hell to get
to the new location.
Flight Risk :
Used to describe officers/NCOs who are suspected of planning to
retire or separate from the service soon. Alternatively, a safety
descriptor for any O-6 or above who manages to get behind the
controls of an airplane.
40% Redux Retirement :
The new retirement plan that will result in reduction of service
(i.e.: Army, Air Force, etc.) manning to 40% of wartime
Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message
"404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be
located; as in "Don't bother asking the boss ... he's 404, man."
Features of any service installation (e.g.: Air Force base, Army
post, etc.) landscape that are designed to appear to be exactly
the same, no matter which base one is at, such as Burger King,
Robin Hood, the PX/BX, and the AMC pax terminal, making them
indistinguishable from each other and therefore interchangeable.
Used as in "We were so lost in generica that I forgot what base
we were at."
Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It :
An offensive form of maneuver, by friendly orientation, that
simultaneously utilizes at least three maneuver elements.
Get Up and Haul Ass :
A movement technique that requires all elements within the Table
of Organization to cross the LD yesterday, even before receipt of
The appearance, demeanor, and military bearing of any field
trooper having successfully completed their mission; being in
contradistinction to "strac", but eminently more effective.
Slightly more than a shitload; being the amount of profit a
defense contractor makes on an essential part. Term allegedly
derived as an acronym from "Grossly Over Budget".
Good Idea Window :
This heading is currently under re-consideration as being
inaccurate for its definition. This term was formerly used to
imply that events would not grow out of control at the last
minute. However, upon closer inspection by the division engineer,
the 'window' has been discovered to be rusted open. In fact,
nobody can even remember the last time they saw the window
closed. A suitability caucus suggests the alternative: "good idea
Gucci Move :
Deliberately altering command intent or guidance, or willfully
violating the fundamentals of operational security or
Hang Out :
To establish a position characterized by a total lack of
security, such as soldiers asleep in hammocks around a huge BBQ
pit turning out chow. Such established positions, together with
its concomitant tasks, are usually accomplished by Air Defenders.
Hey, Diddle, Diddle :
Group of words used to describe a possible COA that allows for no
analytical thought and ensures a minimum 75% casualty rate. In
the USMC, also known as High, Diddle, Diddle – Straight Up
Term for applying massed effects against the enemy; as in: "First
we'll hit these guys over here, then we'll hit these guys, and
then the guys over here will be hit with asymmetrical dominance
from assets from EAC." [Most commonly in use by anyone who has
ever been in the presence of an athletics coach!]
Homina Homina :
Also expressed as "Blah Blah Blah" or "Yada Yada Yada" or "Humma
Humma Humma"; not to be confused with "Hooah" or "Oorah".
Hop and Pop :
Means to move about excitedly with no real purpose or direction.
Used in either one of two ways. Firstly, when the unit is being
entirely overwhelmed by the enemy and the unit members have lost
all discipline and control. At this point individuals are
expected to 'hop and pop' in an effort to keep themselves alive
at the expense of all else. High rates of fratricide are the norm
with this type of operation. Secondly, when senior officers
show-up on-site unexpectedly. Units are normally conducting 'TOC
OPs' in this situation and the only recourse is for all parties
to move about with stern looks and weapons / briefing slides at
the ready in an attempt to make the visitor believe that
something important is actually going on.
Humma Humma Humma :
Also expressed as "Blah Blah Blah" or "Yada Yada Yada" or "Homina
Homina"; not to be confused with "Hooah" or "Oorah".
Jump Back off Your Bad Self :
The correct response to anybody pulling a "Gucci move".
Kabuki Dance :
The elaborately choreographed deception movement techniques used
on the battlefield and/or creatively obfuscatory verbal
explanations used in briefings to higher headquarters. It is
designed to baffle enemy forces regarding actual intent or the
main axis of advance. Works to our advantage because foreign
armies generally find it hard to believe that the American army
could be so screwed up. Equally perplexing to higher chains of
command on the purpose of the true mission. Most commonly seen
when Armor units break out as "Heavy Cav", but expertise in this
area is often demonstrated by the Field Artillery.
An armor technique used to employ light infantry to clear
severely restricted terrain in order to allow the armor to pass.
Kitchen Sink :
More artillery support than you will ever see.
Laze and Blaze :
This is the execution portion of 'hop and pop'. While it implies
a cavalier and competent use of tactical skills (e.g.: using the
BELRF and 25mm to maximum efficiency), it more accurately
describes the act of simultaneously sluing the turret and mashing
the trigger on all weapon systems in a desperate bid to kill
something ... anything!
Although the definition is currently unclear, it's purportedly a
descriptor for a rabid mole-rat, psychologically devastating
and/or physically overwhelming, that's believed to be harassing
senior members of the division staff.
Let's Rock Baby :
Radio communications proword phrase for, "Guidons, this is Black
6, FRAGO follows, acknowledge, over.".
Mill Around :
Like the "route step" command, which authorizes out-of-step
marching, this doctrinaire directive brings a semblance of
military disorder to what would otherwise be a chaotic gathering.
Old soldiers will recognize this assemblage as a "cluster-fuck".
A term for the actions occurring just after you discover that
what you just seized as your main objective is actually the
enemy's fire sack, implying a willingness to be exposed to lethal
fire ... which is reassuring, since it is coincidentally an enemy
Registration Point for more artillery than you could ever
Offline / Off-line :
Yet one more term regularly heard in briefings. This term is used
to convey a polite attitude towards another staff officer in
order to spare everyone else in the meeting from having to endure
staff-to-staff coordination. Usually when a briefer tactfully
says: "That's a good point; let's talk about it offline.", he is
really saying: "Listen dickhead, if you try to sharpshoot me in a
meeting one more time, then I'm going to hit you so hard that I
kill all your relatives for three generations!"
That minuscule fraction of time after hitting the "execute"
button during which you realize that you've just made a BIG
(probably irrevocable) mistake.
Paint the Picture :
A term used to gather information and assess the situation.
Usually an action directed by senior leaders to junior leaders,
invoked after the senior leader has gotten 8 hours of sleep on a
warm cot and has just shaved with hot water provided by his
driver. The Commander uses this term to seek instant knowledge
when he knows absolutely nothing of the tactical situation, while
the Battle Captain has been up all night.
Percussive Maintenance :
The fine art of whacking the crap out of a $200,000 inertial
navigation unit to get it to work properly again.
A technique used to permit the Infantry to write Paragraph Three
of an Op Order in a manner they can comprehend.
An Infantry operation required to actually defeat the enemy
remaining on a key objective after Armor forces by-pass in an
attempt to avoid engagement.
Pound the Shit out of :
Somewhere between "disrupt" and "destroy", being slightly more
than "neutralize" ... typical armored cavalry mission. One of
several terms that vaguely refers to fighting the enemy in some
obscure manner. It is generally used in pep talks prior to the
beginning of a battle. When used, it is a sure indicator that
your unit is about to lose.
Primary Hammer / The Hammer :
A cool operational term used by Battalion and Brigade commanders
to impress a superior when describing the Finishing Force, or the
Rad Emplacement :
The laager, Remain Over Night, or dug-in position which is so
totally concealed that element members are at risk of being
declared Missing-In-Action by superiors who are unable to detect
them. Such established positions are usually accomplished by
primary Combat Arms units.
Recon Cluster :
A large gathering of recon assets from several echelons of
command. Normally given the task of observing an NAI the size of
Texas, but kept together because nobody trusts the COLTs enough
not to get lost. Command relationships for this element are
normally ignored or muddled, allowing the element to commence TOC
This popular term sounds much better than its literal definition,
which actually requires that something be accomplished; but its
use as a doctrinal qualifier only implies or merely forecasts
intent, deliberate and sincere, yet insubstantial. When
optimistically expressed, it may be reliably translated by the
phrase: "not a clue" ... as when an officer reports: "No sir, we
don't yet have resolution on how to execute the deployment
Salmon Day :
The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only
to get screwed and die at the end.
Seagull Colonel :
A colonel who swoops in, makes a lot of noise, grabs all the
obvious pickings, and shits all over everything.
This is when a junior commander (usually a Captain) comes to the
realization that his higher is so completely clueless (perhaps
even befuckled) that to ensure survival he must attach himself
and his command to another unit.
Double the quantity of a 'buttload', as in the amount of money
necessary to "influence the patronage of" (i.e.: bribe) an Armed
Services Committee politician. This enormity has been used to
refer to the number of vehicles in a BCT TOC, or BN UMCP. Also
refers to a battalion-6 mission. An alternate use of this term is
when a unit is being overrun, which allows the RTO to succinctly
call in an accurate estimate of the enemy's size as he grabs his
MRE and attempts to free himself from his sleeping bag.
A term that used to stand for the act of engaging another human
being with some form of dangerous projectile. Now most commonly
used to refer to the act of sending an e-mail to another staff
weenie ... sounding like: "Hey, I'll shoot that piece out to you
on e-mail tomorrow." What it really means: "Hey, my life is so
pathetic, and so far from warfighting, that I will spend tomorrow
gazing into an electronic display; and while doing so, I will
daydream about commanding an intergalactic starship controlled
through my keyboard while pretending that I am doing something
useful, if not meaningful."
The wargaming phase of the Military Decision Making Process
(MDMP) after all Cheetah Flips are completed, briefed and
refined. Named after the mental picture of a band of gray
squirrels in Alabama on the first sunny day of spring, unsure of
whether to attempt mating or to dig up buried nuts. The
Squirrel-Ex phase normally culminates in a massive PowerPoint
briefing called a 'Cheese-Ex'.
Super-Duper PCI :
Like 'laze and blaze', this definition implies a competent use of
doctrinal troop leading procedures. What it really means is that
the unit will cross the LD with no ammo, no antennas, three
layers of hot gear, and two DOS of chow stuffed into every gas
A fluid, noncontinuous form of battlespace dominance, usually
combined with "zippin' around" or "gettin' jiggy wit' it".
An operational methodology, if not a "tactic", favored by
staffers, toadies, and sycophants for broaching mistakes, bad
news, and other disagreeable matters.
An aggressive former wrestling term used to describe your
projected actions on the objective; assumes your inherent lack of
regard for the enemy's capabilities.
A tactful descriptor, as used in the phrase, "That's a
technique." when hearing of a peer's dumb concept of operation.
Translated it means, "That's a really screwed up way to execute
this operation and you will probably kill your entire unit; but
if you're stupid enough to do it that way, go ahead and narrow
the odds on my next Promotion Board."
TOC OPs :
Term used to describe the actual priorities of work that will
take place within any assembly area or TOC location. Priorities
include: 1) build large and elaborate hooches, 2) dig pit and
gather wood for large bonfire area, 3) eat/sleep. All soldiers
conducting TOC OPs are expected to use white lens flashlights
when maneuvering in the area. Helmets and protective masks are
expressly forbidden. The outergarment will usually include a
t-shirt or sleep shirt along with some form of do-rag, but should
never include web gear or the BDU top. Security when conducting
TOC-Ops will consist of sending the newest private, without a
radio or ammunition, 300m out on the perimeter to provide early
warning of any visits from higher headquarters. Radio watch will
consist of one soldier asleep within ten feet of the radio. Upon
compromise by higher HQ, all soldiers will immediately start
'hopping and popping'.
Triple-Hull Down :
A term associated with Force-Protection, Fratricide, and
self-preservation. Used in order to prevent being fired on by
friends when saying something really stupid, hiding from the boss
who has a task that only you can fill, or covering your butt from
being smoked by anyone. A physical and psychological stance
assumed instantly by all tankers when they become aware of
pending close air "support" by Apache units, which may be able to
fire Hellfire missiles from one side of the aircraft in good
weather, assuming no dust or RPG gunners exist in the AO.
Formerly a verb, used to refer to action and activity directed
toward a specific goal or purpose, although in recent times the
meaning of this term has degraded significantly. One will often
hear this term in briefings (as with all excessive verbiage) in
the context of "Yes sir, we need to work the logistics side of
the exercise." What this really means: "Sir, I will execute at
least one IPR and send out a minimum of ten e-mail messages in
order to cover my ass should this stupid issue that you brought
up ever rear its ugly head again."
Yada Yada Yada :
Also expressed as "Blah Blah Blah" or "Homina Homina" or "Humma
Humma Humma"; not to be confused with "Hooah" or "Oorah".
Zippin' Around :
An aviation movement technique in which the helicopters appear to
fly around aimlessly, at a high rate of speed, while attempting
to impress the Ground Combat Troops with their dash and daring.
Occasionally encompasses "gettin' jiggy wit' it" and usually used
in a zone reconnaissance. Never used under anything less than
100% air supremacy. Usually followed by subdued calls for
navigation assistance, or a mandatory appearance at the O'Club.