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Term Meaning
a-frame An A-shaped bipod used in rope installation to create artificial height.
ambient light The existing or encompassing light currently in the surrounding atmosphere.
area of operations An operational area defined by the joint force commander for land and naval forces. Areas of operation do not typically encompass the entire operational area of the joint force commander, but should be large enough for component commanders to accomplish their missions and protect their forces. Abbreviated as AO. assault
assistant patrol leader The designated second person in charge of a patrol under command of a patrol leader. Abbreviated as APL.
beach landing site A geographic location selected for across-the-beach infiltration, exfiltration, or resupply operations. Abbreviated as BLS.
clandestine operation An operation sponsored or conducted by governmental departments or agencies in such a way as to assure secrecy or concealment. A clandestine operation differs from covert operations in that emphasis is placed on concealment of the operation rather than on concealment of identity of the sponsor. In special operations, an activity may be both covert and clandestine and may focus equally on operational considerations and intelligence-related activities.
combat search and rescue A specific task performed by rescue forces to effect the recovery of distressed personnel during wartime or military operations other than war.
compromise The known or suspected exposure of clandestine/covert personnel, installations, or other assets or of classified information or material, to an unauthorized person.
concealment The protection from observation or surveillance.
cover 1. The action by land, air, or sea forces to protect by offense, defense, or threat of either or both.
2. Those measures necessary to give protection to a person, plan, operation, formation, or installation from the enemy intelligence effort and leakage of information.
3. Shelter or protection, either natural or artificial.
covert operations Operations that are so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor. They differ from clandestine operations in that emphasis is placed on concealment of identity of the sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation. In special operations, an activity may be both covert and clandestine.
direct action mission Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions by SOF to seize, destroy, capture, recover, or inflict damage on designated personnel, facilities or material.
In the conduct of these operations, SOF may employ raid, ambush, or direct assault tactics; emplace mines and other munitions; conduct standoff attacks by fire from air, ground, or maritime platforms; provide terminal guidance for precision-guided munitions; and conduct independent sabotage. Abbreviated DA.
evasion and escape The procedures and operations whereby military personnel and other selected individuals are enabled to emerge from an enemy-held or hostile area to areas under friendly control. Abbreviated as E&E.
evasion and recovery The full spectrum of coordinated actions carried out by evaders, recovery forces, and operational recovery planners to effect the successful return of personnel isolated in hostile territory to friendly control. Abbreviated as E&R
exfiltrate The movement of personnel or units out of, or away from areas under enemy control.
extraction The removal of personnel, patrols, or platoons from areas under enemy control by some type of platform.
fastrope A means of inserting forces from a helicopter by sliding "firepole style" down a line. Usually only the hands are used for braking, but with heavy equipment, feet can be used as well.
foreign internal defense The primary FID mission for SOF forces is to train, advise, and otherwise assist friendly government military and paramilitary forces to protect their societies from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency.
FID activities normally are of long duration and require patient adherence to support of national policy. Abbreviated as FID.
forward operational base In SO, a base usually located in friendly territory or afloat, established to extend command and control or communications, or to provide support for training and tactical operations. Facilities may be established for temporary or longer duration operations. They may include an airfield or an unimproved airstrip, anchorage, or a pier.
The FOB may be the location of the SO component headquarters or smaller unit which is controlled and/or supported by a main operational base. Abbreviated as FOB.
guerrilla force A group of irregular, predominantly indigenous personnel, organized along military lines to conduct military and paramilitary operations in enemy-held, hostile, or denied territory.
guerrilla warfare Military and paramilitary combat operations conducted in enemy-held or hostile territory by irregular, predominantly indigenous forces. Guerrilla warfare may also be conducted in politically denied areas.
infiltration The movement through or into an area or territory occupied by either friendly or enemy troops or organizations. The movement is made, either by small groups or by individuals, at extended or irregular intervals.
In SO, infiltration is presumed to be the undetected movement of forces through or into a target area.
initial rally point A well-defined point, easily distinguishable visually and/or electronically, used immediately after insertion as a starting point for the run to the target. Abbreviated as IRP.
insertion The placing of personnel or a unit into an enemy's AO by pre-planned means, normally from a mobile platform of some type.
insurgency An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.
laser target designator A device that emits a beam of laser energy used to mark a specific place or target.
landing zone Any specified zone used for the landing of aircraft.
mirage An optical effect in the desert, which may appear as a pool of water, caused by bending or reflection of light rays in heat
oasis A fertile place in the desert, due to the presence of water.
objective rally point The rally point designated by a patrol that is near the objective/target of the mission. Abbreviated as ORP.
operations security A process of identifying critical information and subsequently analyzing friendly actions attendant to military operations and other activities to:
1. Identify those actions that can be observed by adversary intelligence systems.
2. Determine indicators hostile intelligence systems might obtain that could be interpreted or pieced together to derive critical information in time to be useful to adversaries.
3. Select and execute measures that eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the vulnerabilities of friendly actions to adversary exploitation. Abbreviated as OPSEC.
overt operation Operations planned and executed without attempting to conceal the operation or identity of the sponsor.
paramilitary forces Forces or groups distinct from the regular armed forces of any country, but resembling them in organization, equipment, training, or mission.
patrol leader The individual designated in charge of a patrol organized to conduct a mission. Within the context of this manual, Patrol Leader, Platoon Commander (PC), and Officer in Charge (OIC) are interchangeable terms.
This responsibility can be executed by both officer and enlisted personnel. Abbreviated as PL.
patrol leaders order A mission brief encompassing situation, mission, administration and logistics, command and control, and communications and signals. Abbreviated as PLO.
point man The individual (or element) in a patrol that precedes all others while patrolling and searching for dangers. He is the eyes and ears of the front of a patrol. Abbreviated as PT.
psychological operations Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.
The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator's objectives. Abbreviated as PSYOPS
raid A selection of pitons, chocks, and runners carried by a climber for emplacement as protection while climbing.
radioman The individual designated within a patrol to carry the radio and communicate as directed by the patrol leader. Abbreviated as RTO.
rally point Any position along a route of infiltration or exfiltration where the patrol can rendezvous. Abbreviated as RP.
rear security The last individual or element in a patrol formation with responsibility for security of the patrol from behind. Abbreviated as RS.
reconnaissance A mission undertaken to obtain, by visual observation or other detection methods, information about the activities and resources of an enemy or potential enemy; or to secure data concerning the meteorological, hydrographic, or geographic characteristics of a particular area.
rules of engagement Directives issued by competent military authority which delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered. Abbreviated as ROE.
sabotage An act or acts with intent to injure, interfere with, or obstruct the national defense of a country by willfully injuring or destroying, or attempting to injure or destroy, any national defense or war material, premises, or utilities, to include human and natural resources.
seal delivery vehicle team SDV Teams are organized, trained, and equipped to operate and maintain the NSW inventory of combatant submersibles (SDVs and Advanced Seal Delivery Systems) and submarine deep dive systems called Dry Deck Shelters.
seal team SEAL Teams are maritime SOF organized, trained, and equipped to plan, conduct, and support a variety of Navy and joint special operations, in all operational environments and levels of conflict. A SEAL Team has eight 16-man platoons. A SEAL platoon consists of two officers and 14 enlisted men. The platoon is subdivided into two 8-man squads, but can be further subdivided into 4-man elements called fire teams or 2man operation pairs. The size and composition of the SEAL detachment can vary to meet mission requirements.
special operations Operations conducted by specially organized, trained, and equipped military and paramilitary forces to achieve military, political, economic, or psychological objectives by unconventional military means in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive areas. These operations are conducted during peacetime competition, conflict, and war, independently or in coordination with operations of conventional, non-special operations forces.
Political-military considerations frequently shape special operations, requiring clandestine, covert, or low visibility techniques and oversight at the national level.
Special operations differ from conventional operations in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, mode of employment, independence from friendly support, and dependence on detailed operational intelligence and indigenous assets. Abbreviated as SO or SPECOPS
special operations forces Those active and reserve component forces of the military services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Abbreviated as SOF.
target analysis An examination of potential targets to determine military importance, priority of attack, and weapons required to obtain a desired level of damage or casualties. Abbreviated as TA.
target information package A compilation of essential information about a specific target.
The package includes enemy order of battle (air, land, and sea), target description, vulnerabilities, lines of communication, general and localized photography, and other all-source intelligence information. Abbreviated as TIP.
unconventional warfare A broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations conducted in enemy-held, enemy-controlled, or politically sensitive territory. Unconventional warfare includes, but is not limited to, the interrelated fields of guerrilla warfare, evasion and escape, subversion, sabotage, and other operations of a low visibility, covert, or clandestine nature.