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Home : Doctrine : DoD Terminology Program
DoD Terminology Program

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is the primary office of responsibility for the management of the Department of Defense (DoD) Terminology Program. Its purpose is to improve communications and mutual understanding within DoD, with other federal agencies, and between the US and its international partners through standardization of military and associated terminology. When drafting policy, strategy, or plans, authors must always be cognizant to couple terms and definitions of their expertise with joint doctrine. The program includes US participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Terminology Programme as well as other terminology forums.

DoD Terminology Program Overview

Strategic Policy Documents

Department of Defense Instruction 5025.12 - establishes overarching policy for the DoD Terminology program and usage of the DoD Dictionary.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 5705.01 - establishes policy and procedures for implementing the DoD Terminology program that includes the DoD Dictionary, Terminology Repository for DoD (OSD/JS) Issuances, NATO Terminology and other terminology forums.

DoD Dictionary and Terminology Repository

The full DoD Dictionary may be found on JEL+. (CAC required)

DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms - reflects general and universal terms in joint publication glossaries. Methods to change to the DoD Dictionary are listed in the instructions above. Those who develop policies, strategies, plans, rules, doctrine, and assessments etc. should first access this official resource to determine if terms exist prior to pre-coordination of terms and glossary refinement. Upon accessing the DoD Dictionary, authors are advised to next access the Terminology Repository to view terms that exist throughout DoD in official senior leadership documents.

  • Process to update the DoD Dictionary is outlined in the Chairman's Instruction.

Terminology Repository for DoD (OSD/JS) Issuances (JEL+) provides awareness on specific and technical terms and definitions that reside outside the DoD Dictionary (universal and general terms). The Terminology Repository supports the foundation that the DoD Dictionary is the primary military terminology source and reflects terms in unclassified and correctly marked issuances and glossaries. It is recommended that when accessing joint publications or organizational policy documents to first review the DoD Dictionary and then the Terminology Repository prior to accessing commonly used English-language dictionaries to develop a full understanding of term definitions, descriptions, or usage, and to proceed accordingly. It is also recommended that proposed and existing terms and definitions follow the DoD Dictionary criteria during creation or maintenance. The Terminology Repository will be updated per existing policy, however, will not capture shortened word forms such as abbreviations, acronyms, or initialisms.

  • Process to update the Terminology Repository is outlined in the Chairman's Instruction.

USG Compendium of Interagency and Associated Terms

USG Compendium of Interagency and Associated Terms identifies standard terminology experienced in cooperation activities of the Federal branches of government and their components. The USG Compendium is a non-official guide to Department Dictionaries and other terminology sources. The compendium is in itself not authoritative, but instead compiles authoritative definitions from a variety of authoritative sources as an aid to the USG. The purpose is to improve communication and mutual understanding within the federal government to increase efficiencies among and between workforces. Duplicate term entries with different definitions are by design to show differences in organizational approaches or understanding. The USG Compendium is published with the understanding that it not be definitive of the mission or function of any of organization.

  • Interagency Revision - non-DoD secretariats and organizations will be annually notified of revision opportunities to submit term and definitions from unclassified and uncontrolled documents

NATO Terminology NATO Term - contains non-classified military terminology, as well as non-military terminology relevant to NATO. (Available through JEL and JEL+ only)

  • NATO Terminology Portal (Available through JEL+ only)

UN Terminology
UNTerm - contains non-classified terminology, as well as non-binding terminology relevant to UN. (Available through JEL and JEL+ only)


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