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War with Iraq provides slew of new military buzzwords

CAMP COMMANDO, Kuwait—The U.S. military has always used strange acronyms and esoteric terminology. But the preparations for war on Iraq have brought a new crop of buzzwords to the fore.

Here are some examples:

CFACC KINETICS—Bombs dropped by airplanes from the Coalition Forces Air Component Command (CFACC), which includes U.S. and British warplanes. Kinetics refers to a scientific term that describes how forces, like explosions, act on material bodies.

KINETIC EXAMPLE—An Iraqi military unit which has been deemed likely to fight with determination and will therefore be hammered by CFACC Kinetics to disable it as well as to encourage neighboring units to surrender.

NIPR and SIPR—Separate Internet networks, pronounced Nipper and Sipper. SIPR is secure, NIPR is not.

VISIBILITY—Knowledge. "I have no visibility on that" means "I don't know about that."

END-STATE—What follows the end-game. The political situation in Iraq after the fighting ends.

PERIPHERAL PLAYERS—Kurds, Shiite Muslims, Turkish troops and any other faction that may affect the end-state.

NON-STANDARD BRIDGING EQUIPMENT—Plastic drainage pipes, about 3 feet in diameter and 20-25 feet long, to be used for improvised bridge footings.

BIG-MUSCLE MOVEMENTS—Deployments of major units such as tanks and aircraft and the tons of supplies they require.

ECONOMY OF FORCES MEASURES—Bypassing marginal targets in order to focus on main targets.

LINE HAUL—Delivering supplies to the front, by road.

BLUE FORCE TRACKING—Recording the geographical positions of friendly "Blue" forces to avoid friendly-fire or Blue-on-Blue mishaps.

LOW DENSITY EQUIPMENT SET—A shortage of some sort of equipment.

CHECK THE AZIMUTH—Run plans past superiors to make sure they are going in the right direction. As in azimuth readings from compasses.

LAV C-SQUARED—A Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) used for Command and Control (C2).

STEEL—Bullets, bombs, anything that kills. As in, "Put some steel on the target."

FUN-SPONGE—A no-fun guy, usually a stern mid-level officer.


(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.