Military Dictionary – Letter S

Military Dictionary Letter SHere are the DOD Dictionary terms beginning with the letter S and organized alphabetically. Browse terms from the official DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms that start with S and view definitions. Read on for military definitions that begin with S such as situation report, sortie, surveillance and more.

Military Dictionary A to Z


See also Official DOD Shortened Word Forms.


safe haven — 1. Designated area(s) to which noncombatant evacuees of the United States Government’s responsibility and commercial vehicles and materiel may be evacuated during a domestic or other valid emergency. 2. A protected body of water or the well deck of an amphibious ship used by small craft operating offshore for refuge from storms or heavy seas.

safe house — An innocent-appearing house or premises established by an organization for the purpose of conducting clandestine or covert activity in relative security.

safing — As applied to weapons and ammunition, the changing from a state of readiness for initiation to a safe condition. Also called de-arming.

salvage — 1. Property that has some value in excess of its basic material content but is in such condition that it has no reasonable prospect of use for any purpose as a unit and its repair or rehabilitation for use as a unit is clearly impractical. 2. The saving or rescuing of condemned, discarded, or abandoned property, and of materials contained therein, for reuse, refabrication, or scrapping.

sanction enforcement — Operations that employ coercive measures to control the movement of certain types of designated items into or out of a nation or specified area.

scheduled target — Planned target upon which fires or other actions are scheduled for prosecution at a specified time. See also planned target; target.

schedule of fire — Groups or series of fires that are fired in a definite sequence according to a definite program.

scheme of fires — The detailed, logical sequence of targets and fire support events to find and engage targets to support the commander’s objectives.

scheme of maneuver — The central expression of the commander’s concept for operations that governs the development of supporting plans or annexes of how arrayed forces will accomplish the mission.

scientific and technical intelligence — The product resulting from the collection, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of foreign scientific and technical information that covers: a. foreign developments in basic and applied research and in applied engineering techniques; and b. scientific and technical characteristics, capabilities, and limitations of all foreign military systems, weapons, weapon systems, and materiel; the research and development related thereto; and the production methods employed for their manufacture. Also called S&TI. See also intelligence; technical intelligence.

screening — In intelligence, the evaluation of an individual or a group of individuals to determine their potential to answer collection requirements or to identify individuals who match a predetermined source profile coupled with the process of identifying and assessing the areas of knowledge, cooperation, and possible approach techniques for an individual who has information of intelligence value.

sea areas — Areas in the amphibious objective area designated for the stationing of amphibious task force ships. See also amphibious objective area; fire support area; inner transport area; sea echelon area.

sea barge — A type of barge-ship that can carry up to 38 loaded barges and also carry tugs, stacked causeway sections, various watercraft, or heavy-lift equipment to better support joint logistics over-the-shore operations.

seabasing — The deployment, assembly, command, projection, reconstitution, sustainment, and re-employment of joint power from the sea without reliance on land bases within the operational area. See also amphibious operation.

sea control operations — The employment of forces to destroy enemy naval forces, suppress enemy sea commerce, protect vital sea lanes, and establish local military superiority in vital sea areas. See also land control operations.

sea echelon — A portion of the amphibious warfare ships or other ships that withdraws from or remains out of the transport area during an amphibious landing and operates in designated areas to seaward in an on-call or unscheduled status.

sea echelon area — In amphibious operations, an area to seaward of a transport area from which ships are phased into the transport area and to which ships withdraw from the transport area.

sea echelon plan — In amphibious operations, the distribution plan for amphibious shipping in the transport area to minimize losses due to enemy attack and to reduce the area to be swept of mines. See also amphibious operation.

SEAL delivery vehicle team — United States Navy forces organized, trained, and equipped to conduct special operations with SEAL delivery vehicles, dry deck shelters, and other submersible platforms.

sealift enhancement features — Special equipment and modifications that adapt merchant- type dry cargo ships and tankers to specific military missions. Also called SEFs. See also Military Sealift Command; Ready Reserve.

SEAL team — United States Navy forces organized, trained, and equipped to conduct special operations with an emphasis on maritime, coastal, and riverine environments.

seaport A land facility designated for reception of personnel or materiel moved by sea, and that serves as an authorized port of entrance into or departure from the country in which located. See also port of debarkation; port of embarkation.

search — A systematic reconnaissance of a defined area, so that all parts of the area have passed within visibility.

search and rescue — The use of aircraft, surface craft, submarines, and specialized rescue teams and equipment to search for and rescue distressed persons on land or at sea in a permissive environment. Also called SAR. See also combat search and rescue; isolated personnel; joint personnel recovery center; personnel recovery coordination cell.

search and rescue numerical encryption grid — A predesignated ten-letter word without repeated letters used exclusively by recovery forces or isolated personnel to encrypt numerical data such as position, time, and/or headings in a covert manner.

search and rescue point — A predesignated specific location, relative to which isolated personnel provide their position to recovery forces. Also called SARDOT.

search and rescue region — An area of defined dimensions, recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization, International Maritime Organization, or other cognizant international body, and associated with a rescue coordination center within which search and rescue services are provided.

sea state — A scale that categorizes the force of progressively higher seas by wave height.

secondary loads — Unit equipment, supplies, and major end items that are transported in the beds of organic vehicles.

SECRET Internet Protocol Router Network — The worldwide SECRET-level packet switch network that uses high-speed internet protocol routers and high-capacity Defense Information Systems Network circuitry. Also called SIPRNET. See also Defense Information Systems Network.

section — A subdivision of an office, installation, territory, works, or organization; especially a major subdivision of a staff.

sector air defense commander — Commander, subordinate to an area/regional air defense commander, who is responsible for air and missile defenses in the assigned sector, and exercises authorities delegated by the area/regional air defense commander. Also called SADC.

security — 1. Measures taken by a military unit, activity, or installation to protect itself against all acts designed to, or which may, impair its effectiveness. 2. A condition that results from the establishment and maintenance of protective measures that ensure a state of inviolability from hostile acts or influences. 3. With respect to classified matter, the condition that prevents unauthorized persons from having access to official information that is safeguarded in the interests of national security. See also national security.

security assistance — Group of programs authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended; the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, as amended; or other related statutes by which the United States provides defense articles, military training, and other defense-related services by grant, lease, loan, credit, or cash sales in furtherance of national policies and objectives, and those that are funded and authorized through the Department of State to be administered by Department of Defense/Defense Security Cooperation Agency are considered part of security cooperation. Also called SA. See also security cooperation.

security clearance — An administrative determination by competent authority that an individual is eligible for access to classified information.

security cooperation — All Department of Defense interactions with foreign security establishments to build security relationships that promote specific United States security interests, develop allied and partner nation military and security capabilities for self-defense and multinational operations, and provide United States forces with peacetime and contingency access to allied and partner nations. Also called SC. See also security assistance.

security cooperation organization — A Department of Defense element that is part of the United States diplomatic mission located in a foreign country to carry out security assistance and cooperation management functions under the supervision and coordination authority of the senior defense official/defense attaché. Also called SCO.

security force assistance — The Department of Defense activities that support the development of the capacity and capability of foreign security forces and their supporting institutions. Also called SFA.

security forces — Duly constituted military, paramilitary, police, and constabulary forces of a state.

security review — The process of reviewing information and products prior to public release to ensure the material will not jeopardize ongoing or future operations. See also security.

security sector reform — A comprehensive set of programs and activities undertaken by a host nation to improve the way it provides safety, security, and justice. Also called SSR.

security service — Entity or component of a foreign government charged with responsibility for counterespionage or internal security functions.

segregation — In detainee operations, the removal of a detainee from other detainees and their environment for legitimate purposes unrelated to interrogation, such as when necessary for the movement, health, safety, and/or security of the detainee, the detention facility, or its personnel.

seize — To employ combat forces to occupy physically and to control a designated area.

seizures — In counterdrug operations, includes drugs and conveyances seized by law enforcement authorities and drug-related assets confiscated based on evidence that they have been derived from or used in illicit narcotics activities. See also counterdrug operations; law enforcement agency.

Selected Reserve — Those units and individuals within the Ready Reserve designated by their respective Services and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as so essential to initial wartime missions that they have priority over all other reserves. See also Ready Reserve.

selective identification feature — A capability that, when added to the basic identification friend or foe system, provides the means to transmit, receive, and display selected coded replies.

selective loading — The arrangement and stowage of equipment and supplies aboard ship in a manner designed to facilitate issues to units.

selective off-loading — The capability to access and off-load vehicles, supplies, and equipment without having to conduct a major reconfiguration or total off-load, which is influenced by the number and types of ships allocated and the space made available for the embarkation of the landing force.

selective unloading — In an amphibious operation, the controlled unloading from amphibious warfare ships, and movement ashore, of specific items of cargo at the request of the landing force commander

semipermanent contingency location — A contingency location that provides support for a prolonged contingency operation and characterized by enhanced infrastructure and support services consistent with sustained operations.

senior airfield authority — An individual designated by the joint force commander to be responsible for the control, operation, and maintenance of an airfield, to include the runways, associated taxiways, parking ramps, land, and facilities whose proximity directly affects airfield operations. Also called SAA.

senior contracting official — The staff official designated by a Service head of contracting activity to execute theater support contracting authority for a specific command and/or operational area. Also called SCO.

senior meteorological and oceanographic officer — Meteorological and oceanographic officer responsible for assisting the combatant commander and staff in developing and executing operational meteorological and oceanographic service concepts in support of a designated joint force. Also called SMO. See also meteorological and oceanographic.

sensitive — An agency, installation, person, position, document, material, or activity requiring special protection from disclosure that could cause embarrassment, compromise, or threat to the security of the sponsoring power.

sensitive compartmented information — All information and materials bearing special community controls indicating restricted handling within present and future community intelligence collection programs and their end products for which community systems of compartmentation have been or will be formally  established.  Also called  SCI.

sensitive compartmented information facility — An accredited area, room, group of rooms, or installation where sensitive compartmented information may be stored, used, discussed, and/or electronically processed, where procedural and physical measures prevent the free access of persons unless they have been formally indoctrinated for the particular sensitive compartmented information authorized for use or storage within the sensitive compartmented information facility. Also called SCIF. See also sensitive compartmented information.

sensitive site — A geographically limited area that contains, but is not limited to, adversary information systems, war crimes sites, critical government facilities, and areas suspected of containing high value targets.

sequel — The subsequent operation or phase based on the possible outcomes of the current operation or phase. See also branch.

serial — 1. An element or a group of elements within a series that is given a numerical or alphabetical designation for convenience in planning, scheduling, and control. 2. A group of people, vehicles, equipment, or supplies used in airborne, air assault, amphibious operations, and convoys.

serial assignment table — A table that is used in amphibious operations and shows the serial number, the title of the unit, and the approximate number of personnel; the material, vehicles, or equipment in the serial; the number and type of landing craft and/or amphibious vehicles required to boat the serial; and the ship on which the serial is embarked.

Service — A branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, established by act of Congress, which are: the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

Service-common — Equipment, material, supplies, and services including base operating support adopted by a Service to support its own forces and those assigned to the combatant commands; items and services defined as Service-common by one Service are not necessarily Service-common for all other Services. See also special operations- peculiar.

Service component command — A command consisting of the Service component commander and all those Service forces, such as individuals, units, detachments, organizations, and installations under that command, including the support forces that have been assigned to a combatant command or further assigned to a subordinate unified command or joint task force. See also component; functional component command.

Service-organic transportation asset — Transportation asset that is assigned to a Military Department.

Service-unique container Any 20- or 40-foot International Organization for Standardization container procured or leased by a Service to meet Service-unique requirements. See  also  common-use  container;  component-owned  container.

sexual assault forensic examination kit — The medical and forensic examination kit used to ensure controlled procedures and safekeeping of any bodily specimens in a sexual assault case. Also called SAFE kit.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program — A Department of Defense program for the Military Departments and Department of Defense components that establishes sexual assault prevention and response policies to be implemented worldwide. Also called SAPR program.

sexual assault response coordinator — The single point of contact at an installation or within a geographic area who overseas sexual assault awareness, prevention, and response. Also called SARC.

shelter — An International Organization for Standardization container outfitted with live- or work-in capability.

shielding — 1. Material of suitable thickness and physical characteristics used to protect personnel from radiation during the manufacture, handling, and transportation of fissionable and radioactive materials. 2. Obstructions that tend to protect personnel or materials from the effects of a nuclear explosion.

ship-to-shore movement — That portion of the action phase of an amphibious operation that includes the deployment of the landing force from ships to designated landing areas.

shoot-look-shoot — A firing doctrine in which the result of the first intercept attempt is assessed prior to the launch of a subsequent interceptor. Also called SLS.

shore fire control party — A specially trained unit for control of naval gunfire in support of troops ashore. Also called SFCP.

shore party — A task organization of the landing force, formed for the purpose of facilitating the landing and movement off the beaches of troops, equipment, and supplies; for the evacuation from the beaches of casualties and enemy prisoners of war; and for facilitating the beaching, retraction, and salvaging of landing ships and craft. Also called beach group. See also beachmaster unit; beach party; naval beach group.

shortfall — The lack of forces, equipment, personnel, materiel, or capability, reflected as the difference between the resources identified as a plan requirement and those quantities identified as apportioned for planning that would adversely affect the command’s ability to accomplish its mission.

short-range air defense engagement zone — In air and missile defense, that airspace of defined dimensions within which the responsibility for engagement of air and missile threats normally rests with short-range air defense weapons, and may be established within a low- or high-altitude missile engagement zone. Also called SHORADEZ.

short-range ballistic missile — A ballistic missile with a range capability between 300-600 nautical miles. Also called SRBM.

short takeoff and landing — The ability of an aircraft to clear a 50-foot (15 meters) obstacle within 1,500 feet (450 meters) of commencing takeoff or in landing, to stop within 1,500 feet (450 meters) after passing over a 50-foot (15 meters) obstacle. Also called STOL.

show of force — An operation planned to demonstrate United States resolve that involves increased visibility of United States deployed forces in an attempt to defuse a specific situation that, if allowed to continue, may be detrimental to United States interests or national objectives.

signal operating instructions — A series of orders issued for technical control and coordination of the signal communication activities of a command. In Marine Corps usage, these instructions are designated communication operation instructions. Also called SOI.

signals intelligence 1. A category of intelligence comprising either individually or in combination all communications intelligence, electronic intelligence, and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence, however transmitted. 2. Intelligence derived from communications, electronic, and foreign instrumentation signals. Also called SIGINT. See also communications intelligence; electronic intelligence; foreign instrumentation signals intelligence; intelligence.

signals intelligence operational tasking authority — A military commander’s authority to operationally direct and levy signals intelligence requirements on designated signals intelligence resources; includes authority to deploy and redeploy all or part of the signals intelligence resources for which signals intelligence operational tasking authority has been delegated. Also called SOTA.

significant wave height — The average height of the third of waves observed during a given period of time. See also surf zone.

simultaneous engagement — The concurrent engagement of hostile targets by combination of interceptor aircraft and surface-to-air missiles.

single-anchor leg mooring — A mooring facility dedicated to the offshore petroleum discharge system, which permits a tanker to remain on station and pump in much higher sea states than is possible with a spread moor. Also called SALM. See also offshore petroleum discharge system.

single manager— A Military Department or agency designated by the Secretary of Defense to manage specified commodities or common service activities on a Department of Defense-wide basis.

single port manager The transportation component, designated by the Department of Defense through the United States Transportation Command, responsible for management of all common-user aerial and seaports worldwide. Also called SPM. See also transportation component command.

single-service manager — A Service component commander who is assigned the responsibility and delegated the authority to coordinate and/or perform specified personnel support or personnel service support functions in the theater of operations. See also component.

site exploitation — A series of activities to recognize, collect, process, preserve, and analyze information, personnel, and/or materiel found during the conduct of operations. Also called SE.

situation report — A report giving the situation in the area of a reporting unit or formation. Also called SITREP.

situation template — A depiction of assumed adversary dispositions, based on that adversary’s preferred method of operations and the impact of the operational environment if the adversary should adopt a particular course of action. See also adversary template; course of action.

sociocultural analysis — The analysis of adversaries and other relevant actors that integrates concepts, knowledge, and understanding of societies, populations, and other groups of people, including their activities, relationships, and perspectives across time and space at varying scales. Also called SCA.

sociocultural factors — The social, cultural, and behavioral factors characterizing the relationships and activities of the population of a specific region or operational environment.

solatium — Monetary compensation given in areas where it is culturally appropriate to alleviate grief, suffering, and anxiety resulting from injuries, death, and property loss with a monetary payment.

sortie — In air operations, an operational flight by one aircraft.

sortie allotment message — The means by which the joint force commander allots excess sorties to meet requirements of subordinate commanders that are expressed in their air employment and/or allocation plan. Also called SORTIEALOT.

source — 1. A person, thing, or activity from which information is obtained. 2. In clandestine activities, a person (agent), normally a foreign national, in the employ of an intelligence activity for intelligence purposes. 3. In interrogation activities, any person who furnishes information, either with or without the knowledge that the information is being used for intelligence purposes. See also agent; collection agency.

source management — The process to register and monitor the use of sources involved in counterintelligence and human intelligence operations to protect the security of the operations and avoid conflicts among operational elements.

source registry — A source record or catalogue of leads and sources acquired by collectors and centralized for management, coordination, and deconfliction of source operations.

source zone — In counterdrug operations, an identified geographic area for growing and/or the primary processing of the agricultural/synthetic components for illicit drugs, and where the trafficking process begins.

space asset — Equipment that is an individual part of a space system, which is or can be placed in space or directly supports space activity terrestrially.

space assignment — An assignment to the individual Military Departments/Services by the appropriate transportation operating agency of movement capability, which completely or partially satisfies the stated requirements of the Military Departments/Services for the operating month and that has been accepted by them without the necessity for referral to the Joint Transportation Board for allocation.

space capability — 1. The ability of a space asset to accomplish a mission. 2. The ability of a terrestrial-based asset to accomplish a mission in or through space. See also space asset.

space control — Operations to ensure freedom of action in space for the United States and its allies and deny an adversary freedom of action in space. See also combat service support; combat support; negation.

space coordinating authority The responsibility to plan, integrate, and coordinate space operations. Also called SCA.

space domain — The area above the altitude where atmospheric effects on airborne objects become negligible.

space environment — The environment corresponding to the space domain, where electromagnetic radiation, charged particles, and electric and magnetic fields are the dominant physical influences, and that encompasses the Earth’s ionosphere and magnetosphere, interplanetary space, and the solar atmosphere.

space forces —The space and terrestrial systems, equipment, facilities, organizations, and personnel, or combination thereof, necessary to conduct space operations. See also national security.

space joint operating area — The operational area, bounded by the space domain, assigned to Commander, United States Strategic Command, in which space operations are conducted. Also called SJOA.

space situational awareness — The requisite foundational, current, and predictive knowledge and characterization of space objects and the operational environment upon which space operations depend. Also called SSA.

space superiority — The degree of control in space of one force over any others that permits the conduct of its operations at a given time and place without prohibitive interference from terrestrial or space-based threats.

space weather — The conditions and phenomena in space and specifically in the near-Earth environment that may affect space assets or space operations. See also space asset.

special access program — A sensitive acquisition, intelligence, or operations and support program, that imposes need-to-know and access controls beyond those normally provided for access to confidential, secret, or top secret information. Also called SAP.

special cargo — Cargo that requires special handling or protection, such as pyrotechnics, detonators, watches, and precision instruments.

special forces — United States Army forces organized, trained, and equipped to conduct special operations with an emphasis on unconventional warfare capabilities. Also called SF.

special forces group — The largest Army combat element for special operations consisting of command and control, special forces battalions, and a support battalion capable of long duration missions. Also called SFG.

specialization — An arrangement within an alliance wherein a member or group of members most suited by virtue of technical skills, location, or other qualifications assume(s) greater responsibility for a specific task or significant portion thereof for one or more other members.

special mission unit — A generic term to represent an organization composed of operations and support personnel that is task-organized to perform highly classified activities. Also called SMU.

special operations — Operations requiring unique modes of employment, tactical techniques, equipment and training often conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and characterized by one or more of the following: time sensitive, clandestine, low visibility, conducted with and/or through indigenous forces, requiring regional expertise, and/or a high degree of risk.

special operations command and control element — A special operations element that is the focal point for the synchronization of special operations forces activities with conventional forces activities. Also called SOCCE. See also command and control; joint force special operations component commander; special operations; special operations forces.

special operations forces — Those Active and Reserve Component forces of the Services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called SOF. See also Air Force special operations forces; Army special operations forces; Navy special operations forces.

special operations joint task force — A modular, tailorable, and scalable special operations task force designed to provide integrated, fully-capable, and enabled joint special operations forces to geographic combatant commanders and joint force commanders. Also called SOJTF.

special operations liaison element — A special operations liaison team provided by the joint force special operations component commander to coordinate, deconflict, and synchronize special operations air, surface, and subsurface operations with conventional air operations. Also called SOLE. See also joint force air component commander; joint  force  special  operations  component  commander;   special   operations.

special operations-peculiar — Equipment, material, supplies, and services required for special operations missions for which there is no Service-common requirement. See also Service-common; special operations.

special operations task force — A scalable unit, normally of battalion size, in charge of the special operations element, organized around the nucleus of special operations forces and support elements. Also called SOTF.

special operations weather team — A task organized team of Air Force personnel organized, trained, and equipped to collect critical environmental information from data sparse areas.

special operations wing — An Air Force special operations wing. Also called SOW.

special reconnaissance — Reconnaissance and surveillance actions conducted as a special operation in hostile, denied, or diplomatically and/or politically sensitive environments to collect or verify information of strategic or operational significance, employing military capabilities not normally  found  in  conventional  forces.  Also  called  SR.

special tactics team — An Air Force task-organized element of special tactics that may include combat control, pararescue, tactical air control party, and special operations weather personnel. Also called STT. See also combat search and rescue; special operations; special operations forces; terminal attack control.

specified combatant command — A command, normally composed of forces from a single Military Department, that has a broad, continuing mission, normally functional, and is established and so designated by the President through the Secretary of Defense with the advice and assistance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

specified task In the context of planning, a task that is specifically assigned to an organization by its higher headquarters. See also essential task; implied task.

split-mission oriented protective posture — The concept of maintaining heightened protective posture only in those areas (or zones) that are contaminated, allowing personnel in uncontaminated areas to continue to operate in a reduced posture. Also called split-MOPP.

spoke The portion of the hub and spoke distribution system that refers to transportation mode operators responsible for scheduled delivery to a customer of the “hub”. See also distribution; distribution system; hub; hub and spoke distribution.

spot — 1. To determine by observation, deviations of ordnance from the target for the purpose of supplying necessary information for the adjustment of fire. 2. To place in a proper location. 3. An approved shipboard helicopter landing site. See also ordnance.

spot net — Radio communication net used by a spotter in calling fire.

spot report — A concise narrative report of essential information covering events or conditions that may have an immediate and significant effect on current planning and operations that is afforded the most expeditious means of transmission consistent with requisite security. Also called SPOTREP. (Note: In reconnaissance and surveillance usage, spot report is not to be used.)

spotter — An observer stationed for the purpose of observing and reporting results of naval gunfire to the firing agency and who also may be employed in designating  targets.

spotting — Parking aircraft in an approved shipboard landing site.

spreader bar — A device specially designed to permit the lifting and handling of containers or vehicles and breakbulk cargo.

squadron — 1. An organization consisting of two or more divisions of ships or two or more divisions (Navy) or flights of aircraft. 2. The basic administrative aviation unit of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. 3. Battalion-sized ground or aviation units.

stability activities — Various military missions, tasks, and activities conducted outside the United States in coordination with other instruments of national power to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment and provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.

stabilized patient — A patient whose airway is secured, hemorrhage is controlled, shock treated, and fractures are immobilized.

stable patient — A patient for whom no inflight medical intervention is expected but the potential for medical intervention exists.

staff estimate — A continual evaluation of how factors in a staff section’s functional area support and impact the planning and execution of the mission.

staff judge advocate — A judge advocate so designated in the Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps, and the principal legal advisor of a Navy, Coast Guard, or joint force command who is a judge advocate. Also called SJA.

staging — Assembling, holding, and organizing arriving personnel, equipment, and sustaining materiel in preparation  for  onward  movement.  See also  staging  area.

staging area — 1. Airborne – A general locality between the mounting area and the objective of an airborne expedition through which the expedition, or parts thereof, pass after mounting, for refueling; regrouping; and/or exercise, inspection, and redistribution of troops. 2. Other movements – A general locality established for the concentration of troop units and transient personnel between movements over the lines of communications. 3. In amphibious operations, one or more intervening ports for refueling, logistic support, emergency repairs, or final rehearsals. Also called SA. See also airborne; marshalling; staging.

staging base — 1. An advanced naval base for the anchoring, fueling, and refitting of transports and cargo ships as well  as replenishment  of mobile service squadrons. 2. A landing and takeoff area with minimum servicing, supply, and shelter provided for the temporary occupancy of military aircraft during the course of movement from one location to another.

stakeholder — In public affairs, an individual or group that is directly impacted by military operations, actions, and/or outcomes, and whose interests positively or negatively motivate them toward action.

standardization — The process by which the Department of Defense achieves the closest practicable cooperation among the Services and Department of Defense agencies for the most efficient use of research, development, and production resources, and agrees to adopt on the broadest possible basis the use of: a. common or compatible operational, administrative, and logistic procedures; b. common or compatible technical procedures and criteria; c. common, compatible, or interchangeable supplies, components, weapons, or equipment; and d. common or compatible tactical doctrine with corresponding organizational compatibility.

standard operating procedure A set of instructions applicable to those features of operations that lend themselves to a definite or standardized procedure without loss of effectiveness. Also called SOP; standing operating procedure. 

standard use Army aircraft flight route — Route established below the coordination level to facilitate the movement of Army aviation assets; it is normally located in the corps through brigade rear areas of operation and does not require approval by the airspace control authority. Also called SAAFR.

Standby Reserve Those units and members of the Reserve Component (other than those in the Ready Reserve or Retired Reserve) who are liable for active duty only, as provided in Title 10, United States Code, Sections 10151, 12301, and 12306. See also active duty; Ready Reserve; Reserve Component; Retired Reserve.

standing rules for the use of force — Preapproved directives to guide United States forces on the use of force during various operations. Also called SRUF.

stateless person A person who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law. See also dislocated civilian; displaced person; evacuee; refugee.

station time — In air transport operations, the time at which crews, passengers, and cargo are to be on board and ready for the flight.

status-of-forces agreement — A bilateral or multilateral agreement that defines the legal position of a visiting military force deployed in the territory of a friendly state. Also called SOFA.

sterilizer — In mine warfare, a device included in mines to render the mine permanently inoperative on expiration of a pre-determined time after laying.

stockage objective — The maximum quantities of materiel to be maintained on hand to sustain current operations, which will consist of the sum of stocks represented by the operating level and the safety level.

stop-loss — Presidential authority under Title 10, United States Code, Section 12305, to suspend laws relating to promotion, retirement, or separation of any member of the Armed Forces of the United States determined essential to the national security of the United States, to include reservists if serving on active duty under Title 10, United States Code, authorities for Presidential Reserve Call-up, partial mobilization, or full mobilization. See also mobilization; partial mobilization; Presidential Reserve Call-up.

stowage — The placement of cargo into a hold or compartment or on a deck of a ship in such a way as to prevent damage from load shifts while the ship is underway.

stowage factor — The number that expresses the space, in cubic feet, occupied by a long ton of any commodity as prepared for shipment, including all crating  or packaging.

stowage plan — A completed stowage diagram showing what materiel has been loaded and its stowage location in each hold, between-deck compartment, or other space in a ship, including deck space.

strategic direction — The strategy and intent of the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in pursuit of national interests.

strategic estimate — The broad range of strategic factors that influence the commander’s understanding of the operational environment and the determination of missions, objectives, and courses of action. See also estimate.

strategic guidance — The written products by which the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff provide strategic direction.

strategic intelligence Intelligence required for the formation of policy and military plans at national and international levels. See also intelligence; operational intelligence; tactical intelligence.

strategic level of warfare — The level of warfare at which a nation, often as a member of a group of nations, determines national or multinational (alliance or coalition) strategic security objectives and guidance, then develops and uses national resources to achieve those objectives. See also operational level of warfare; tactical level  of warfare.

strategic mobility — The capability to deploy and sustain military forces worldwide in support of national strategy.

strategic sealift — The afloat pre-positioning and ocean movement of military materiel in support of United States and multinational forces.

strategic sealift shipping — Common-user ships of the Military Sealift Command force, including pre-positioned ships after their pre-positioning mission has been completed and they have been returned to the operational control of the Military Sealift Command. See also Military Sealift Command; Military Sealift Command force.

strategy — A prudent idea or set of ideas for employing the instruments of national power in a synchronized and integrated fashion to achieve theater, national, and/or multinational objectives.

strike — An attack to damage or destroy an objective or a capability.

strike coordination and reconnaissance — A mission flown for the purpose of detecting targets and coordinating or performing attack or reconnaissance on those targets. Also called SCAR.

structured observation management The framework for normalizing how geospatial intelligence observations from sensors and sources is captured, organized, and shared. Also called SOM.

stuffing — Packing of cargo into a container. See also unstuffing.

submarine operating authority — The naval commander exercising operational control of submarines. Also called SUBOPAUTH.

subordinate campaign plan — A combatant command prepared plan that satisfies the requirements under a Department of Defense campaign plan, which, depending upon the circumstances, transitions to a supported or supporting plan in execution.

subordinate command — A command consisting of the commander and all those individuals, units, detachments, organizations, or installations that have been placed under the command by the authority establishing the subordinate command.

subordinate unified command — A command established by commanders of unified commands, when so authorized by the Secretary of Defense through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to conduct operations on a continuing basis in accordance with the criteria set forth for unified commands. See also area command; functional component command; operational control; subordinate command; unified command.

subsidiary landing — In an amphibious operation, a landing usually made outside the designated landing area.

subversion Actions designed to undermine the military, economic, psychological, or political strength or morale of a governing authority. See also unconventional warfare.

supercargo — Personnel that accompany cargo on board a ship for the purpose of accomplishing en route maintenance and security

supplies — In logistics, all materiel and items used in the equipment, support, and maintenance of military forces. See also component; equipment.

supply — The procurement, distribution, maintenance while in storage, and salvage of supplies, including the determination of kind and quantity of supplies. a. producer phase—That phase of military supply that extends from determination of procurement schedules to acceptance of finished supplies by the Services. b. consumer phase— That phase of military supply that extends from receipt of finished supplies by the Services through issue for use or consumption.

supply chain — The linked activities associated with providing materiel from a raw materiel stage to an end user as a finished product. See also supply; supply chain management.

supply chain management — A cross-functional approach to procuring, producing, and delivering products and  services  to  customers.  See  also  supply;  supply  chain.

supply support activity — Activities assigned a Department of Defense activity address code and that have a supply support mission. Also called SSA.

support 1. The action of a force that aids, protects, complements, or sustains another force in accordance with a directive requiring such action. 2. A unit that helps another unit in battle. 3. An element of a command that assists, protects, or supplies other forces in combat. See also close support; direct support; general support; inter-Service support; mutual support.

supported commander — 1. The commander having primary responsibility for all aspects of a task assigned by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3110.01J, (U) 2015 Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP), or other joint planning authority. 2. In the context of joint planning, the commander who prepares operation plans or operation orders in response to requirements of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 3. In the context of a support command relationship, the commander who receives assistance from another commander’s force or capabilities, and who is responsible for ensuring that the supporting commander understands the assistance required. See also support; supporting commander.

supported unit — As related to contracted support, a supported unit is the organization that is the recipient, but not necessarily the requester of, contractor-provided support. See also requiring activity.

supporting arms — Weapons and weapons systems of all types employed to support forces by indirect or direct fire.

supporting arms coordination center — A single location on board an amphibious warfare command ship in which all communication facilities incident to the coordination of fire support of the artillery, air, and naval gunfire are centralized. Also called SACC. See also fire support coordination center.

supporting commander — 1. A commander who provides augmentation forces or other support to a supported commander or who develops a supporting plan. 2. In the context of a support command relationship, the commander who aids, protects, complements, or sustains another commander’s force and who is responsible for providing the assistance required by the supported commander. See also support; supported commander.

supporting fire — Fire delivered by supporting units to assist or protect a unit in combat.

supporting operations In amphibious operations, those operations conducted by forces other than those conducted by the amphibious force. See also amphibious force; amphibious operation.

supporting plan — An operation plan prepared by a supporting commander, a subordinate commander, or an agency to satisfy the requests or requirements of the supported commander’s plan. See  also  supported  commander;  supporting  commander.

suppression — Temporary or transient degradation by an opposing force of the performance of a weapons system below the level needed to fulfill its mission objectives.

suppression of enemy air defenses — Activity that neutralizes, destroys, or temporarily degrades surface-based enemy air defenses by destructive and/or disruptive means. Also  called  SEAD.  See  also  electromagnetic  spectrum;  electronic   warfare.

surface action group — A temporary or standing organization of combatant ships, other than carriers, tailored for a specific tactical mission. Also called SAG. See group; mission.

surface combatant — A ship designed to engage in attacks against airborne, surface, subsurface, and shore targets.

surface warfare — That portion of maritime warfare in which operations are conducted to destroy or neutralize enemy naval surface forces and merchant vessels. Also called SUW.

surf line — The point offshore where waves and swells are affected by the underwater surface and become breakers.

surf zone The area of water from the surf line to the beach.    See also surf line.

surveillance — The systematic observation of aerospace, cyberspace, surface, or subsurface areas, places, persons, or things by visual, aural, electronic, photographic, or other means.

survivability — All aspects of protecting personnel, weapons, and supplies while simultaneously deceiving the enemy.

survival, evasion, resistance, and escape — Actions performed by isolated personnel designed to ensure their health, mobility, safety, and honor in anticipation of or preparation for their return to friendly control. Also called SERE.

suspect 1. In counterdrug operations, a track of interest where correlating information actually ties the track of interest to alleged illicit drug operations. See also counterdrug operations; track of interest. 2. An identity applied to a track that is potentially hostile because of its characteristics, behavior, origin, or nationality. See also assumed friend; neutral; unknown.

sustainment — The provision of logistics and personnel services required to maintain and prolong operations until successful mission accomplishment.

sustainment, restoration, and modernization — The fuels asset sustainment program within Defense Logistics Agency Energy that provides a long-term process to cost- effectively sustain, restore, and modernize fuel facilities. Also called SRM.

synchronization — 1. The arrangement of military actions in time, space, and purpose to produce maximum relative combat power at a decisive place and time. 2. In the intelligence context, application of intelligence sources and methods in concert with the operation plan to answer intelligence requirements in time to influence the decisions they support.

synthesis — In intelligence usage, the examining and combining of processed information with other information and intelligence for final interpretation.

system — A functionally, physically, and/or behaviorally related group of regularly interacting or interdependent elements; that group of elements forming a unified whole.

systems support contract A prearranged contract awarded by a Service acquisition program management office that provides technical support, maintenance and, in some cases, repair parts for selected military weapon and support systems. See also external support contract; theater support contract.

Military Dictionary A to Z


See also Official DOD Shortened Word Forms.

Source: Official DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.