dod snafu

Wonkette’s Own Wikileaks: Pentagon Says No To Acronyms

STFU Wikileaks.Did you enjoy the million new Wikileaks’ secret documents with your leftover turkey? Of course not. There are just too many documents! And that’s why Wonkette is launching its own version of Wikileaks, the Wonkileak — each release will consist of exactly one (1) document. And we guarantee that each release will completely shame every level of the U.S. Government, forever. Today, we present Wonkileak #1, this authentic DoD memo from this morning that outlaws acronyms. Somehow, we think the Pentagon is going to lose this war, too.

Here is the complete body text of the memo:

The use of acronyms by the Department of Defense is extensive. Many acronyms have multiple meanings and are not always well known outside a particular organization. Although using acronyms in written material is intended to make writing clearer, their misuse or abuse does the exact opposite.

Effective immediately, all written correspondence prepared for the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of Defense will minimize the use of acronyms or include a comprehensive glossary as the last tab of the package. Particular attention should be given to Read-Aheads and slide presentations, which can contain a large number of acronyms.

Michael L Bruhn
Executive Secretary

So, the king of all the secretaries in the Pentagon has said ENOUGH! Will the other secretaries listen? Who knows! Here is the scan of the memo so you can enjoy the “TSC” thrill of seeing the original command document:

Thanks to our secret emailer buddy, “SEMB.”

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne
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      1. hockeymom

        "Shit you should know before you walk into that meeting so you don't look stupid"


      1. i_AM_ready

        I hate when the slides get jammed and you have to turn the lights on to fix it. RUINS the show. Only thing worse is when the bulb in the projector burns out, just when you have all your friends over to look at your vacation pictures…

        1. An_Outhouse

          Have you ever had one of your slides melt? That's a total cluster fuck. Try to clean melted emulsion in the middle of a technical presentation. Everyone looks annoyed at you like "what a retard".

      2. Beanball

        Picture this: I used to produce slide shows for "review by Higher Authority," and for which I received a commendation.

        Needless to say, nothing the military brass does can get a rise out of me any more, including getting involved in land wars in Asia.

        Trust me when I tell you they are Fucked Up Beyond All Repair.

        1. Beanball

          I wish I'd thought of that one, but my special trick was to slip in – between the "package zones" and the Post-SIOP patrol area boxes and CEPs – were schmaltzy and/or bucolic slides of the targets; you know, Red Square at Christmas, heroic machine workers in Nizhniy Vovgorod and such. Nobody ever said WTF? or even blinked. Pathetic.

  1. prommie

    The secdef is apparently acronym-illiterate. I imagine similar memos went out from the white house during the W reign; ""One-syllable words only, please."

    1. Prizepig

      Bush was OK with multi-syllabic words as long as the memo had a simple narrative structure with a clearly defined protagonist and antagonist and an unambiguous moral.

      Also, stories about courageous animals.

      1. charlesdegoal

        Although he tended to confuse 'protagonist' with 'proctologist', thought that antagonists were against him and that everyone except the gays had unambiguous morals.

  2. DahBoner

    So this SGoUoAiWM memo will provide the Supplemental Guidance of Use of Acroymns in Written Material?

    Party on Garth…

  3. Katydid

    Much like us Wonketteers, they can't find him.

    EDIT: Note, if this was the Old Wonkette, I would be in serious danger of a banhammering. Since this is the new kinder, gentler Wonkette, I'm safe, and I'm not at all sure I like it. The new, kinder, gentler Wonkette, that is.

  4. charlesdegoal

    The only ones who don't know what the acronyms stand for are the secretary of defense and the deputy secretary of defense. They only know what DoD means. They've been kept completely in the dark for all these years and, with the leaking of documents, they are now confronted with the fact that they have signed off on totally unwarranted stuff, such as the wars in Iraq (IrW) and in Afghanistan (AfW), which they blindly OKd.

    1. prommie

      They also have apparently been embarrassed when giving presentations that were prepared for them, when someone, oh, say a President or someone like that, asked them what an acronym on the screen stood for, and they didn't know.

  5. horsedreamer_1

    With Rand Paul going after the Pentagon's budget, the military is just being proactive: cut the supply of letters (it's a figleaf, but so are ear-mark bans) while saving the weapons systems & other high-tech.

  6. MildMidwesterner

    Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn't we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? 'Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we'd all be put out in K.P.

  7. Serolf_Divad

    The use of acronyms by the Department of Defense is extensive. Many acronyms have multiple meanings and are not always well known outside a particular organization. Although using acronyms in written material is intended to make writing clearer, their misuse or abuse does the exact opposite.

    Dollars to donuts this memo was occasioned by a PowerPoint presentation gone horribly awry on the threat posed by the Phillipine based Moro Islamic Liberation Front . I imagine a low level staffer being quite suprised when he was tasked with adding a few MILF pictures to Secretary Gates presentation before the Joint Cheifs.

  8. WhatTheHeck

    Oh for fuck's sake, Ken. We already have twitter-speak. Palin-speak. And YouTube idiot-speak. Now you are unleashing Wonkileaks’ Acronyms on us. Where is this going to end? I know. I know. You’re going to tell me to STFU.

  9. mavenmaven

    Acronyms are in the constitution (WTPOTUS). Banning them is Obama Socialism and this is the proof. Obamanyms!
    Start making new protest signs, teabaggers! The gov is forcing whole words down people's throats!

  10. Monsieur_Grumpe

    I hate acronyms. Engineers use them profusely and seeing that I am one I must deal with what I call acronym hell in just about every meeting. One meeting where a telecomm manager type was speaking at about 150 APM (Acronyms per Minute) and going on and on how we needed to get the TSBs for us to succeed. I finally asked what a TSB was. He looked stunned and informed me that it was a Tall Shiny Building.

    1. DustBowlBlues

      So absurd it's completely believable. When is DOD going to do something really worthwhile and forbid the practice of turning nouns into gerunds to create non-existent words or just fucking misusing the original. As in, the "Republithugs are looking to 2012, so the military should be prepared with useless but very expensive shit stock piled. It's understood that the Rs are CALENDARING the next war."

      If the infinitive form doesn't fit, then cut it.

      Next up: "correcting the use of reflexive pronouns, eliminating random quotation marks and using apostrophes in the grammatically correct manner."

    2. Katydid

      I'm a brittle technical writer. I hate to tell you the acronyms we brittle tech writers use for engineers.

        1. Katydid

          And I'm so sorry that you must work with brittle technical writers! Some of us are really obnoxious, but I'm not (truly).

  11. Sgt_Biyatch

    Inexplicable: I recently wrote a book titled "America by Heart" on sale now for $12.99 (available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon), but Obama's Secretary of Defense can't stop its employees, who also work for Obama, from using acronyms?

  12. DustBowlBlues

    True story from "Fiasco" by Thomas Ricks.

    The Bush admin. would only accept reports in Power Point presentations. No more thick military reports. Drove the DOD crazy. One of those little things that no one notices about Hopey being in office is that the DOD told everyone to quit with the fucking slide show.

    (Plus, they hired more auditors for the IRS and instead of going after Earned Income Tax abusers, starting auditing fucking rich people. So much good done, so little attention. PS Read it in the CS Monitor, so it's complete truth.)

  13. ShaveTheWhales

    The official address name of the Pentagon is the "Defense Pentagon"? Ya learn something useless every day.

  14. cheetojeebus

    Ecuador should be nice. Do you think you'll hunt for a hovel in the jungle or perhaps a shanty on the outskirts of Quito? Do send a postcard.

  15. Krugmanic Depressive

    I don't know who "Michael L. Bruhn" is, but this document is an obvious forgery. The real author is one Liz Becton.

  16. BarryOPotter

    "Inexcusable: Ifin i can use acrynms on the twttr, 'n rl Mrknz get it, thn y cn't Obama!?! Dsgrcfl!"
    –Ignint frm AK

  17. BarryOPotter

    You didn't hear this from me, but I heard from a guy who knows a guy that Ken's moonlighting as a TSA agent.

    1. Beanball

      Cliff Notes with pictures and/or graphics. What we would call background info, or shit that they should already fucking know going into the meeting because it's their fucking job but probably don't because, frankly, they're usually incompetent wankers.

  18. natoslug

    Great. The pentagon's already a money pit, and now they have to start buying more vowels? Bring back the acronyms!

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