Joint Terminology at the Heart of Doctrine

By Hock, George H., Jr. | Joint Force Quarterly, July 2011 | Go to article overview

Joint Terminology at the Heart of Doctrine


Hock, George H., Jr., Joint Force Quarterly


Recently, the largest component of the joint force, the U.S. Army, confirmed its new chief of staff, General Martin Dempsey. General Dempsey, speaking 2 days after his nomination, outlined issues that he thinks are important for the Army going forward--one of which is "getting the words right." Dempsey, who previously commanded U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, emphasized that the Service is making changes to its core doctrine, and for that reason he is serious about getting the definitions right. Words matter. He went on to stress why doctrinal language is so important by quoting Mark Twain: "The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." Current joint terminology efforts are consistent with its Service counterparts' commitment to ensuring concise, clear language.

It is Department of Defense (DOD) policy to improve communications and mutual understanding within the department, among other Federal agencies, and between the United States and its international partners through standardization of military and associated terminology. Joint Publication (JP) 1-02, DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms and its associated database are the key documents within the joint doctrine discipline that support this policy. It is the primary terminology source when preparing correspondence, including policy, strategy, doctrine, and planning documents and applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Services, Joint Staff, combatant commands, DOD agencies, and all other DOD components. As such, it is by far the most widely referenced document within the entire body of joint doctrine, receiving nearly 250,000 individual page views and 23,000 full document downloads per month.

Over 25 years after the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of1986 mandated "jointness," Service personnel still sometimes struggle to communicate with one another during joint operations. No doubt there has been marked improvement, but there is room for more. In 1989, OSD decided that joint terminology should be consolidated in one place and managed accordingly. The responsibility was transferred to the J7. The Secretary of Defense, in DOD Directive 5025.12, Standardization of Military and Associated Terminology, directed the use of JP 1-02 (originally called JCS Pub 1) throughout DOD to ensure standardization of military and associated terminology. The idea was not to capture the voluminous Service-specific technical terms but those of a broader nature that have significance in the planning and conduct of joint operations. Currently, there are ongoing initiatives to improve JP 1-02 which include appropriately standardizing and annotating source publications for all entries.

As early as 1993, source documents were identified and noted in JP 1-02 and the newly developed Joint Terminology Master Database (JTMD) in order to provide a contextual basis for proper understanding of each term. Additionally, a process was established for terms to be reviewed regularly as part of the normal revision cycle of the source document to ensure relevance. This methodology of sourcing terms in conjunction with the normal joint doctrine development process continues. Yet even with such a process, entries such as "white cap--a small wave breaking offshore as a result of the action of strong winds. See also wave" remain in JP 1-02. White cap and wave were defined in JP 1-02 almost exactly as they are in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, begging the question of their utility as entries.

In late 2005, however, the joint/Service terminologist's working group embarked on the sourcing project guided by the mantra "precise terms used precisely" and nears completion today. The results of this multiphase long-term effort is that from the high water mark of approximately 6,000 DOD and North Atlantic Treaty Organization terms in 2005 in JP 1-02, approximately 2,500 of them (without approved sources and those that are deemed unnecessary) have been removed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Joint Terminology at the Heart of Doctrine
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.