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Translating Military-ese

wordsEvery once in a while, someone asks me to translate military jargon, or more often summarize a lengthy statement into an “executive summary.”   Here are a couple of examples of my attempts to convert a dense forest of words into a simple “take home message.”
From Evolving U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Unmanned Systems Research, Development, Test, Acquisition & Evaluation (RDTA&E) Space and Naval Warfare Systems

“Accompanying charges for acquisition reform were calls by the DoD to operate enterprise-wide instead of with organizational-specific focus. This has lead to the establishment of ‘portfolios of joint capabilities’ that integrate horizontally rather than vertically as stove-piped programs.”

Take home message: We’re going to stop buying screwdrivers one at a time.

From Persistent Air and Ground Surveillance to Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) (2009 Army Posture Statement)

“Insurgent employment of IEDs required the Army’s quick reaction capabilities process to rapidly develop and deploy sensors and weapons to defeat the IED threat. Persistent air and ground surveillance requires the synchronization and integration of networked sensors and analysts across the total force to counter IED threats in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maneuver forces must be able to detect, identify, locate, and track targets in near-real-time to warn friendly forces, develop the situation prior to contact, and take advantage of fleeting opportunities.”

Take home message: Soldiers need to find the IEDs before the IEDs find them.

From DoD Joint Vision Technology 2010

“Accelerating rates of change will make the future environment more unpredictable and less stable, presenting our Armed Forces with a wide range of plausible futures. Whatever direction global change ultimately takes, it will affect how we think about and conduct joint and multinational operations in the 21st century. How we respond to dynamic changes concerning potential adversaries, technological advances and their implications, and the emerging importance for information superiority will dramatically impact how well our Armed Forces can perform its duties in 2010.”

Take home message: You know how just as you learn how to use one computer, you have to buy a new one? The military has the same problem.

Also, from above:

“Dominant maneuver will be the multidimensional application of information, engagement, and mobility capabilities to position and employ widely dispersed joint air, land, sea, and space forces to accomplish the assigned operational tasks. Dominant maneuver will allow our forces to gain a decisive advantage by controlling the breadth, depth, and height of the battlespace.”

Take home message: Hit them everywhere with everything.

From Equipping Joint Warfighters Through Modernization of Unmanned Ground Systems (UGS) (Army AL&T July–September 2010)

“Unmanned systems can support future forces and expanded operational environment concepts by serving as economy of force assets and enhancing force protection by providing standoff operational capabilities for many warfighter functions.”

Take home message: Robot help soldier not go boom.