Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ode to acronyms

There’s no question that we like it short and sweet in this country. Who needs to watch Entertainment Television when we can watch E! ? Why send the President of the United States to the North American Aerospace Defense Command center in a time of crisis when POTUS can go to NORAD?

Nobody creates acronyms better that the United States — or should I say U.S. of A.

Here in Maryland, with thousands of jobs coming as part of the military’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, acronyms and abbreviations are going to become an even bigger part of our everyday lives. If we’re to survive the influx of the military and its contractors, we better figure out what they are saying…ASAP.

To help us out, the Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor — a.k.a. the CSSC, which is made up of the counties in central Maryland affected by BRAC — came out with a handy pamphlet called BRACANYMS.

BRACANYMS translates military speak for the average citizen or business owner. Some of the entries are pretty straightforward and already part of our everyday lexicon: AACC stands for Anne Arundel Community College; DPW is the Department of Public Works; MTA is the Maryland Transit Authority; HQ is headquarters.

Others, though, are perplexing and lead one to wonder: Is this English? Is this where my tax dollars are going?

There is NETOPS, which is how the military says Network Operations; RDECOM which is the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command; O&M, which is the government’s way of untwisting the complicated phrase Operations and Maintenance.

Then there is the PEO family with PEO, PEO C3T, PEO EIS and PEO IEW&S. As far as I can tell they have something to do with offices that manage a group of programs.


Do we really need guide to acronyms? Wouldn’t the world be a much better place without them? How about a ban on government acronyms altogether?

Which acronyms would you like to see disappear?

Send us your nominations PDQ.

—LOUIS LLOVIO, Business Writer

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