Army Acronyms and Abbreviations: Rank, Facilities and Beyond

The United States Army has hundreds of acronyms that allow for more efficient communication. When everyone has a set, condensed lingo to use in action, the response time is quicker and military action is more efficient.

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Army Rank and Position Abbreviations

Rank and position play integral roles in any branch of the military. As a soldier, you know the people who rank above and below you, which allows for a direct, straightforward line of command and accountability.

The following lists the Army ranks ordered from lowest to highest.

  • PVT - Private
  • SPC - Specialist
  • CPL - Corporal
  • SGT - Sergeant
  • SSG - Staff sergeant
  • SFC - Sergeant first class (platoon sergeant)
  • MSG - Master sergeant
  • 1SG - First sergeant
  • SGM - Sergeant major
  • CSM - Command sergeant major
  • SMA - Sergeant Major of the Army
  • WO1 - Warrant officer
  • 2LT - Second lieutenant
  • 1LT - First Lieutenant
  • CPT - Captain
  • MAJ - Major
  • LTC - Lieutenant colonel
  • COL - Colonel
  • BG - Brigadier general
  • MG - Major general
  • LTG - Lieutenant general
  • GEN - General
  • GA - General of the Army
  • CSA - Chief of staff of the Army
  • ASA - Assistant Secretary of the Army

Abbreviations for Army Equipment and Facilities

The Army uses some of the most advanced technology and equipment in the world, housed within secure facilities, all of which have their own abbreviations or acronyms.

  • AAF - Army airfield
  • AAFES - Army and Air Force Exchange Service
  • BASOPS - Base operations
  • CIF - Central issue facility
  • CTC - Combat training center
  • EOD - Explosive ordnance disposal
  • FOB - Forward operating base
  • FORSCOM - U.S. Army Forces Command
  • HQ - Headquarters
  • HQDA - Headquarters, Department of the Army
  • OPSEC - Operational security
  • POV - Privately owned vehicle

Miscellaneous Army and Other Military Abbreviations

Even aside from personnel, equipment and facilities, the Army features a wide range of other acronyms and abbreviations to describe everything from evacuations to exercise.

  • AAM - Army Achievement Medal
  • ABN - Airborne
  • ARs - Army regulations
  • ASI - Additional skill identifier
  • AVF - All-volunteer force
  • BAH - Basic allowance for housing
  • BLC - Basic Leader Course
  • CAPE - Corrective action through physical exercise
  • CASEVAC - Casualty evacuation
  • COA - Course of action
  • CPX - Command post exercise
  • DA - Department of the Army
  • DRU - Direct Reporting Unit
  • EFP - Explosively formed penetrator or projectile
  • EIB - Expert Infantryman Badge
  • EXSUM - Executive summary
  • FOUO - For Official Use Only
  • FTX - Field training exercise
  • GCM - Good Conduct Medal
  • GMC - General Military Course
  • IED - Improvised explosive device
  • KIA - Killed in action
  • LZ - Landing zone
  • METL - Mission essential task list
  • MOAB - Massive ordnance air blast (colloquially “Mother of All Bombs”)
  • MOS - Military occupational specialty
  • NCO - Non-commissioned officer
  • OER - Officer Evaluation Report
  • OPORD - Operation order
  • PLDC - Primary Leadership Development Course
  • PLF - Parachute landing fall
  • PMCS - Preventive maintenance checks and services
  • POM - Program Objective Memorandum
  • PT - Physical training
  • SOP - Standard operating procedure
  • SRS - Strategic Readiness System
  • STX - Situational training exercise
  • WILCO - Will comply
  • WO - Warning order
  • WP - White phosphorus
  • XO - Executive officer
  • ZI - Zone of interior
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Getting Your Marching Orders

When you’re taking or giving orders in the Army, acronyms and abbreviations can save time without sacrificing communication. Learn some more military lingo with: