September 1, 2011  

Plain speaking

To the soldiers who are wringing needless acronyms and jargon from the upcoming edition of the Army’s Field Manual 1-02, the service’s dictionary of operational terms and graphics.

“There is no reason for the U.S. Army to create a word if the English language suffices,” Carlos Soto told Stars and Stripes.

Wags might say Soto, a self-described “terminologist” with the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate’s Joint Multinational Doctrine Division, is starting with a few strikes against him. But his Fort Leavenworth, Kan.-based team is serious about reducing the miscommunications fostered by obscure abbreviations and language. That’s especially valuable these days, when soldiers find themselves working with troops from sister services and foreign countries nearly every day.

To be sure, specialized terminology is critical to military training, operations and combat, as it is in any complicated and technical endeavor. But everyone will be better off if the Army manages to ramp down its robust leveraging of dubiously enhanced linguistic functionality.