Military Dictionary – Letter P

Military Dictionary Letter PHere are the DOD Dictionary terms beginning with the letter P and organized alphabetically. Browse terms from the official DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms that start with P and view definitions. Read on for military definitions that begin with P such as passive defense, phony minefield, port of debarkation, precision-guided munition, and more.

Military Dictionary A to Z


See also Official DOD Shortened Word Forms.


packup kit — Service-provided maintenance gear sufficient for a short-term deployment, including spare parts and consumables most commonly needed by the deployed helicopter detachment. Supplies are sufficient for a short-term deployment but do not include all material needed for every maintenance task. Also called PUK.

parallel chains of command — In amphibious operations, a parallel system of command, responding to the interrelationship of participating forces, wherein corresponding commanders are established at each subordinate level of all components to facilitate coordinated planning for, and execution of, the amphibious operation.

paramilitary forces — Armed forces or groups distinct from the conventional armed forces of any country, but resembling them in organization, equipment, training, or mission.

partial mobilization — Expansion of the active Armed Forces of the United States resulting from action by Congress (up to full mobilization) or by the President (not more than 1,000,000 for not more than 24 consecutive months) to mobilize Ready Reserve component units, individual reservists, and the resources needed for their support to meet the requirements of a war or other national emergency involving an external threat to the national security.

partner nation — 1. A nation that the United States works with in a specific situation or operation. 2. In security cooperation, a nation with which the Department of Defense conducts security cooperation activities. Also called PN.

passage of lines — An operation in which a force moves forward or rearward through another force’s combat positions with the intention of moving into or out of contact with the enemy.

passive defense — Measures taken to reduce the probability of and to minimize the effects of damage caused by hostile action without the intention of taking the initiative. See also active defense.

patient movement The act or process of moving a sick, injured, wounded, or other person to obtain medical and/or dental care or treatment, which include medical regulating, patient evacuation, and en route medical care. Also called PM. See also patient movement items; patient movement requirements center.

patient movement items — The medical equipment and supplies required to support patients during aeromedical evacuation, which is part of a standardized list of approved safe-to-fly equipment. Also called PMIs.

patient movement policy — Command decision establishing the maximum number of days that patients may be held within the command for treatment. See also evacuation.

patient movement requirements center — 1. A joint activity that coordinates patient movement by functionally merging of joint medical regulating processes, Services’ medical regulating processes, and patient movement evacuation requirements planning (transport to bed plan). 2. Term used to represent any theater, joint, or the Global Patient Movement Requirements Center function. Also called PMRC.

peace building — Stability actions that strengthen and rebuild a society’s institutions, infrastructure, and civic life to avoid a relapse into conflict. Also called PB. See also peace enforcement; peacekeeping; peacemaking; peace operations.

peace enforcement — Application of military force, or the threat of its use, normally pursuant to international authorization, to compel compliance with resolutions or sanctions designed to maintain or restore peace and order. See also peace building; peacekeeping; peacemaking; peace operations.

peacekeeping Military operations undertaken, with the consent of all major parties to a dispute, designed to monitor and facilitate implementation of an agreement (cease fire, truce, or other such agreement) and support diplomatic efforts to reach a long-term political settlement. See also peace building; peace enforcement; peacemaking; peace operations.

peacemaking The process of diplomacy, mediation, negotiation, or other forms of peaceful settlements that arranges an end to a dispute and resolves issues that led to it. Also called PM. See also peace building; peace enforcement; peacekeeping; peace operations.

peace operations Multiagency and multinational crisis response and limited contingency operations involving all instruments of national power with military missions to contain conflict, redress the peace, and shape the environment to support reconciliation and rebuilding and facilitate the transition to legitimate governance. Also called PO. See also  peace  building;  peace  enforcement;  peacekeeping;   and   peacemaking.

performance work statement — A statement of work for performance based acquisitions that describe the results in clear, specific, and objective terms with measurable outcomes. Also called PWS.

permissive environment — Operational environment in which host nation military and law enforcement agencies have control, as well as the intent and capability to assist operations that a unit intends to conduct.

persistent agent — A chemical agent that, when released, remains able to cause casualties for more than 24 hours to several days or weeks.

persistent mine — A land mine, other than nuclear or chemical, that is not designed to self- destruct; is designed to be emplaced by hand or mechanical means; and can be buried or surface emplaced.

personal effects — All privately owned moveable, personal property of an individual. Also called PE. See also mortuary affairs; personal property.

personal locator beacon — An emergency device carried by individuals, to assist locating during personnel recovery. Also called PLB. See also emergency locator beacon.

personal property — Property of any kind or any interest therein, except real property; military-issued equipment/gear; records of the United States Government; and naval vessels of the following categories: aircraft carriers, surface combatants, and submarines.

personal protective equipment Mission-specific protective clothing and equipment provided to shield or isolate selected personnel from a particular chemical, biological, radiological, and some nuclear hazards. Also called PPE. See also individual protective equipment.

personal staff — Aides and staff officers handling special matters over which the commander wishes to exercise close personal control.

person authorized to direct disposition of human remains — A person, usually primary next of kin, who is authorized to direct disposition of human remains. Also called PADD. See also mortuary affairs.

personnel — Individuals required in either a military or civilian capacity to accomplish the assigned mission.

personnel accountability — The process of identifying, capturing, and recording the personal identification information of an individual usually through the use of a database.

personnel recovery The sum of military, diplomatic, and civil efforts to prepare for and execute the recovery and reintegration of isolated personnel. Also called PR. See also combat search and rescue; evasion;  personnel;  recovery;  search  and  rescue.

personnel recovery coordination cell — The primary joint force component organization responsible for coordinating and controlling component personnel recovery missions. Also called PRCC.

personnel recovery reference product A reference document for personnel recovery containing specific information on a particular country or region of interest. Also called PRRP.

personnel services support — Service-provided sustainment activities that support a Service member during both exercises and operations. Also called PSS.

petroleum, oils, and lubricants — A broad term that includes all petroleum and associated products used by the Armed Forces. Also called POL.

phase — In planning, a definitive stage of a campaign or operation during which a large portion of the forces and capabilities are involved in similar or mutually supporting activities for a common purpose.

phase line — A line utilized for control and coordination of military operations, usually an easily identified feature in the operational area. Also called PL.

phony minefield — An area free of live mines used to simulate a minefield, or section of a minefield, with the object of deceiving the enemy. See also minefield.

physical characteristics Those military characteristics of equipment that are primarily physical in nature.

physical damage assessment The estimate of the quantitative extent of physical damage to a target resulting from the application of military force. See also battle damage assessment.

physical security —1. That part of security concerned with physical measures designed to safeguard personnel; to prevent unauthorized access to equipment, installations, material, and documents; and to safeguard them against espionage, sabotage, damage, and theft.  2. In communications security, the component that results from all physical measures necessary to safeguard classified equipment, material, and documents from access thereto or observation thereof by unauthorized persons. See also communications security; security.

placement — An individual’s proximity to information of intelligence interest.

planned target — Target that is known to exist in the operational environment, upon which actions are planned using deliberate targeting, creating effects which support commander’s objectives. There are two subcategories of planned targets: scheduled and on-call. See  also  on-call  target;  operational  area;  scheduled  target;  target.

planning and direction — In intelligence usage, the determination of intelligence requirements, development of appropriate intelligence architecture, preparation of a collection plan, and issuance of orders and requests to information collection agencies. See also intelligence process.

planning factor — A multiplier used in planning to estimate the amount and type of effort involved in a contemplated operation.

planning factors database Databases created and maintained by the Services for the purpose of identifying all geospatial intelligence requirements for emerging and existing forces and systems. Also called PFDB. See also geospatial information and services.

planning order — A planning directive that provides essential planning guidance and directs the development, adaptation, or refinement of a plan/order. Also called PLANORD.

planning phase — In amphibious operations, the phase normally denoted by the period extending from the issuance of the initiating directive up to the embarkation phase. See also amphibious operation.

planning team — A functional element within a headquarters established to solve problems related to a specific task or requirement, and which dissolves upon completion of the assigned task.

point defense — The defense or protection of special vital elements and installations; e.g., command and control facilities or air bases.

pointee-talkee — A language aid containing selected phrases in English opposite a translation in a foreign language used by pointing to appropriate phrases. See also evasion aid.

point of employment — In distribution operations, a physical location designated by the commander at the tactical level where force employment, emplacement, or commodity consumption occurs.

point of need — In distribution operations, a physical location within a desired operational area designated by the geographic combatant commander or subordinate commander as a receiving point for forces or materiel, for subsequent use or consumption.

point of origin — In distribution operations, the beginning point of a deployment, redeployment, or movement where forces or materiel are located.

polar orbit — A satellite orbit that passes over the North and South Poles on each orbit, has an angle of inclination relative to the equator of 90 degrees, and eventually passes over all points on the Earth.

population at risk — The strength in personnel of a given force structure in terms of which casualty rates are stated. Also called PAR.

port complex — One or more port areas in which activities are geographically linked either because these areas are dependent on a common inland transport system or because they constitute a common initial destination for convoys.

port of debarkation — The geographic point at which cargo or personnel are discharged. Also called POD. See also port of embarkation.

port of embarkation — The geographic point in a routing scheme from which cargo or personnel depart. Also called POE. See also port of debarkation.

port operations group — A task-organized unit, located at the seaport of embarkation and/or debarkation that assists and provides support in the loading and/or unloading and staging of personnel, supplies, and equipment from shipping. Also called POG. See also landing force support party; task organization.

port security — The safeguarding of vessels, harbors, ports, waterfront facilities, and cargo from internal threats such as destruction, loss, or injury from sabotage or other subversive acts; accidents; thefts; or other causes of similar nature. See also physical security; security.

port support activity — A tailorable support organization composed of mobilization station assets that ensures the equipment of the deploying units is ready to load. Also called PSA. See also support.

positive control — A method of airspace control that relies on positive identification, tracking, and direction of aircraft within an airspace, conducted with electronic means by an agency having the authority and responsibility therein.

positive identification — An identification derived from observation and analysis of target characteristics including visual recognition, electronic support systems, non- cooperative target recognition techniques, identification friend or foe systems, or other physics-based identification techniques. Also called PID.

post-launch abort — Deliberate action taken post-separation to cause a precision munition to miss its target. Also called PLA.

precipitation static — Charged precipitation particles that strike antennas and gradually charge the antenna, which ultimately discharges across the insulator, causing a burst of static. Also called P-STATIC.

precise time and time interval — A reference value of time and time interval (frequency). Also called PTTI.

precision-guided munition — A guided weapon intended to destroy a point target and minimize collateral damage. Also called  PGM, smart  weapon,  smart munition.

preferred forces — Specific units that are identified to provide assumptions essential for continued planning and assessing the feasibility of a plan.

prelanding operations — Operations conducted by the amphibious force upon its arrival in the amphibious objective area or operational area and prior to H-hour and/or L-hour.

preparation of the environment — An umbrella term for operations and activities conducted by selectively trained special operations forces to develop an environment for potential future special operations. Also called PE.

prepare to deploy order — An order issued directing an increase in a unit’s deployability posture and specifying a timeframe the unit must be ready by to begin deployment upon receipt of a deployment order. Also called PTDO.

preplanned air support — Air support in accordance with a program, planned in advance of operations.

pre-position — To place military units, equipment, or supplies at or near the point of planned use, or at a designated location, to reduce reaction time and to ensure timely support of a specific force during initial phases of an operation.

pre-positioned war reserve stock — The assets that are designated to satisfy the pre- positioned war reserve materiel requirement. Also called PWRS.

presail — The time prior to a ship getting under way used to prepare for at-sea events.

Presidential Reserve Call-up — Provision of a public law (Title 10, United States Code, Section 12304) that provides the President a means to activate, without a declaration of national emergency, not more than 200,000 members of the Selected Reserve and the Individual Ready Reserve (of whom not more than 30,000 may be members of the Individual Ready Reserve) for not more than 365 days to meet the requirements of any operational mission, other than for disaster relief or to suppress insurrection. Also called PRC.  See  also  Individual  Ready  Reserve;  mobilization;  Selected   Reserve.

pressure mine — 1. In land mine warfare, a mine having a fuze that responds to the direct pressure of a target. 2. In naval mine warfare, a mine having a circuit that responds to the hydrodynamic pressure field of a target. See also mine.

prevention of mutual interference — In submarine operations, procedures established to prevent submerged collisions between friendly submarines; between submarines and friendly, surface ship-towed bodies and arrays; and between submarines, unmanned systems, and any other hazards to submerged navigation. Also called PMI.

preventive maintenance — Care and service of equipment and facilities in satisfactory operating condition by systematic inspection, detection, and correction of incipient failures either before they occur or before they develop into major defects.

preventive medicine — The anticipation, communication, prediction, identification, prevention, education, risk assessment, and control of communicable diseases; illnesses; and exposure to endemic, occupational, and environmental threats. Also called PVNTMED.

primary agency — The federal department or agency assigned primary responsibility for managing and coordinating a specific emergency support function in the National Response Framework.

primary control officer — In amphibious operations, the officer embarked in a primary control ship assigned to control the movement of landing craft, amphibious vehicles, and landing ships to and from a colored beach. Also called PCO.

primary control ship — In amphibious operations, a ship of the task force designated to provide support for the primary control officer and a combat information center control team for a colored beach. Also called PCS.

primary flight control — The controlling agency on air-capable ships that is responsible for air traffic control of aircraft within 5 nautical miles of the ship. On most Coast Guard cutters, primary flight control duties are performed by a combat information center, and the term “PRIFLY” is not used. Also called PRIFLY.

primary review authority — The organization, within the lead agent’s chain of command, that is assigned by the lead agent to perform the actions and coordination necessary to develop and maintain the assigned joint publication under the cognizance of the lead agent. Also called PRA. See also joint publication; lead agent.

prime contract — A contract or contractual action entered into by the United States Government for the purpose of obtaining supplies, materials, equipment, or services of any kind.

prime vendor — A contracting process that provides commercial products to regionally grouped military and federal customers from commercial distributors using electronic commerce. Also called PV. See also distribution system.

principal federal official — The federal official designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security to act as his/her representative locally to oversee, coordinate, and execute the Secretary’s incident management responsibilities under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5. Also called PFO.

principal officer — The officer in charge of a diplomatic mission, consular office, or other foreign service post, such as a United States liaison office.

priority designator — A two-digit issue and priority code placed in military standard requisitioning and issue procedure requisitions to provide a means of assigning relative rankings to competing demands placed on the Department of Defense supply system. Also called PD.

priority intelligence requirement An intelligence requirement that the commander and staff need to understand the threat and other aspects of the operational environment. Also called PIR. See also information requirements; intelligence; intelligence process; intelligence requirement.

prisoner of war — A detained person (as defined in Articles 4 and 5 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949) who, while engaged in combat under orders of his or her government, is captured by the armed forces of the enemy. Also called POW.

private sector — An umbrella term that may be applied to any or all of the nonpublic or commercial individuals and businesses, specified nonprofit organizations, most of academia and other scholastic institutions, and selected nongovernmental organizations.

privity of contract — The legal relationship that exists between two contracting parties.

probability of damage — The probability that damage will occur to a target expressed as a percentage or as a decimal. Also called PD.

procedural control — A method of airspace control which relies on a combination of previously agreed and promulgated orders and procedures.

procedural identification — An identification based on observation and analysis of target behaviors including location and trajectory, as well as compliance with airspace control measures.

procedures — Standard, detailed steps that prescribe how to perform specific tasks. See also tactics; techniques.

procedure word — A word or phrase limited to radio telephone procedure used to facilitate communication by conveying information in a condensed standard form. Also called proword.

processing — A system of operations designed to convert raw data into useful information.

processing and exploitation — In intelligence usage, the conversion of collected information into forms suitable to the production of intelligence. See also intelligence process.

process owner — The head of a Department of Defense component assigned a responsibility by the Secretary of Defense when process improvement involves more than one Service or Department of Defense component.

procurement lead time — The interval in time between the initiation of procurement action and receipt of the products or services purchased as the result of such actions.

procuring contracting officer — A contracting officer who initiates and signs the contract. Also called PCO. See also administrative contracting officer; contracting officer.

production base — The total national industrial production capacity available for the manufacture of items to meet materiel requirements.

production requirement — An intelligence requirement that cannot be met by current analytical products resulting in tasking to produce a new product that can meet this intelligence requirement. Also called PR.

production requirements matrix — A compilation of prioritized combatant command all- source intelligence analysis and production requirements that support all phases of a plan. Also called PRMx.

prolonged field care — The continued delivery of medical care prior to patient movement beyond the holding capability of that role of care.

prompt radiation — The radiation, essentially neutrons and gamma rays, resulting from a nuclear burst and emitted from the fireball within one minute after burst. See also residual radiation.

proof — In mine warfare, to verify that a breached lane is free of live mines by passing a mine roller or other mine-resistant vehicle through as the lead vehicle.

protected emblems — The red cross, red crescent, and other symbols that designate that persons, places, or equipment so marked have a protected status under the law of war.

protected frequencies — Friendly, generally time-oriented, frequencies used for a particular operation, identified and protected to prevent them from being inadvertently jammed by friendly forces while active electronic warfare operations are directed against hostile forces. See also electronic warfare.

protected persons/places —Persons (such as enemy prisoners of war) and places (such as hospitals) that enjoy special protections under the law of war and which may or may not be marked with protected emblems.

protection — Preservation of the effectiveness and survivability of mission-related military and nonmilitary personnel, equipment, facilities, information, and infrastructure deployed or located within or outside the boundaries of a given operational area. See also mission-oriented protective posture.

protection of shipping — The use of proportionate force, when necessary for the protection of United States flag vessels and aircraft, United States citizens (whether embarked in United States or  foreign  vessels),  and  their  property  against  unlawful  violence.

protective clothing — Clothing especially designed, fabricated, or treated to protect personnel against hazards.

protective minefield — 1. In land mine warfare, a minefield employed to assist a unit in its local, close-in protection. 2. In naval mine warfare, a minefield emplaced in friendly territorial waters to protect ports, harbors, anchorages, coasts, and coastal routes. See also minefield.

provincial reconstruction team — A civil-military team designated to improve stability in a given area by helping build the legitimacy and effectiveness of a host nation local or provincial government in providing security to its citizens and delivering essential government services. Also called PRT.

public In public affairs, a segment of the population with common attributes to which a military force can tailor its communication. See also external audience; internal audience.

public affairs — Communication activities with external and internal audiences. Also called PA. See also command information; public information.

public affairs assessment — An analysis of the news media and public environments to evaluate the degree of understanding about strategic and operational objectives and military activities and to identify levels of public support. See also assessment; public affairs.

public affairs guidance — Constraints and restraints established by proper authority regarding public communication activities. Also called PAG. See also public affairs.

public information — Within public affairs, information of a military nature, the dissemination of which is consistent with security and approved for public release.

Military Dictionary A to Z


See also Official DOD Shortened Word Forms.

Source: Official DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.