The Language of Today's Army

September 2008

On Cyber Patrol: September 2008

There’s been some discussion that today’s soldiers need to be both a warrior and a computer geek to handle the challenges of modern conflicts. This transition could possibly be a difficult one for old school Army personnel and may require significant updating of their operational vocabulary. As part of this retraining effort, the partial list below serves as an unofficial primer in the new language of today’s Army. 

 Classic Term  Current Term
 The radio is out     The network is down
 The enemy is massing over the next ridge    There’s been heavy internet traffic out of the region
 Dig a foxhole  Put up a firewall
 Secure this bridge Secure this network
 Our lines have been infiltrated   Our network’s been hacked
 I almost got my a** shot off         We almost lost our computer assets
 Boot camp   Boot up
 Loose lips  Loose keyboards
 He lost his thumb at Quang Tri      He lost his thumb drive in Mosul
 Enemy irregulars Script kiddies, transnational cyber terrorists
 Years of Experience  IA Workforce Certification
 @*!%! My gun has jammed   @*!%! My screen has frozen
 Retired on active duty  Legacy system
 Fail Inspection    Not Networthy
 Airborne Air cards
 Battle hardened Cyber Warrior
 Forward edge of the battle area   Over the horizon
 Targets of opportunity  Unencrypted mobile devices

While some of these substitute phrases may be tongue in cheek, it is a fact that the battlefield terminology of our father’s Army in physical space is being supplemented and increasingly supplanted by the lexicon of operating in cyber space and winning the cyber war. Soldiers need to be as well versed in maintaining and securing their information systems as they are in using their weapons systems. Each individual’s information assurance and cyber security responsibilities–regardless of rank–are as important as maintaining a secure perimeter at a forward base. Safeguarding information helps to ensure the success of operations, the protection of resources and the security of our warfighters.

The On Cyber Patrol© cartoon and supporting articles are created and made available by the U.S. Army’s Office of Information Assurance and Compliance, NETCOM, CIO/G6.  For more information on the OCP program or to submit ideas for upcoming cartoons/articles, contact

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