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Special Forces Berlin
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Special Operations Glossary

Home > Special Operations Glossary > C

The Special Forces community and the military services in general use a multitude of words, phrases, and acronyms in its vocabulary, documentation, correspondence, and publications.  This glossary is intended to aid those unfamiliar with specific special operations terminology.

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C2.  Command and Control.

C2PC.  Command and Control Personal Computer.  A computer application that is used in OPCENS, TOCs, and JOCS that displays a Common Operating Picture (COP) to include Blue Force Tracker icons.

C4I.  Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence.

CA.  Civil Affairs.  See Civil Affairs below.

Cache.  In the conduct of special operations or personnel recovery operations, caches are used to supply operators or evaders with food, medical supplies, water, communications gear, and survival aids.  Caches are waterproofed and prepositioned in secure and hidden locations usually by burial, concealment, or submersion.

Cal.  Caliber.

CALL.  Center for Army Lessons Learned.

Campaign.  A campaign is joint and can be described as a series of major operations aimed at achieving an objective (strategic or operational) within a given space or time.

Campaign plan.  "A plan for a series of related military operations aimed at accomplishing a strategic or operational objective within a given space or time".  (JP 1-02).

CARVER.  An acronym for criticality, accessibility, recuperability, vulnerability, effect, and recognizability.

CAS.  Close Air Support.  Rotary or fixed-wing air support conducted against hostile forces in close proximity to friendly ground forces.

CASEVAC.  Casualty Evacuation.

CAT-A.  Civil Affairs Team A.

CBRNE.  Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield explosive.

CBT.  See Combating Terrorism definition below.

CCIR.  Commander's Critical Information Requirements.

CCP.  Casualty Collection Point.  Where you bring wounded for medical attention and evacuation during and immediately after a battle, firefight, or engagement.

CCT.  Combat Control Team.

CCTV.  Closed Circuit Television.

CD.  Counterdrug.  Activities taken to detect, monitor, and counter the production, trafficking, and use of illegal drugs.  Special Forces units have long been engaged in CD operations in Central and South America.

CDR.  Commander.

CENTCOM.  U.S. Central Command.

CEOI.  Communications Electronics Operating Instructions.

CF.  Conventional Forces.  As in not Special Operations Forces.  See Conventional Forces definition below.

CFACC.  Combined Forces Air Component Command.

CFLCC.  Combined Forces Land Component Command.

CGRS.  Common Geographic Reference System.

CF / SOF I3. Conventional Force and Special Operations Interdependence, Interoperability, and Integration. . . . OMG! This acronym could only have been invented at Fort Leavenworth!

CI.  Counterintelligence.  See definition below.

CIA.  Central Intelligence Agency.

CIG. Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of the CIA.

Circuit. Name for a SOE or OSS team attached to an underground network in Europe during World War II.

Civil Affairs.  Abbrievated to CA in some cases.  Forces and units organized, trained, and equipped to conduct civil affairs activities and to support civil military operations.

Civil Affairs Activities.  Activities performed and/or supported by civil affairs that enhance the relationship between military forces and civil authorities.  Activities will involve application of civil affairs functional specialty skills that normally is the responsibility of civil government.

Civil Military Operatoins.  Abbreviated to CMO.  Activities that establish, maintain, influence, or exploit relations between military forces, governmental and nongovernmental civilian organizations and authorities, and the civilian populace.

CJCMOTF.  Combined Joint Civil-Military Operations Task Force.

CJSOTF-A.  Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan.

CJSOTF-AP.  Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Penisular.

CJSOTF-HOA.  Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Horn of Africa.

CJTF.  Commander Joint Task Force.

Clandestine Operation.  "An operation sponsored or conducted by governmental departments or agencies in such a way as to assure secrecy or concealment. A clandestine operation differs from a covert operation in that emphasis is placed on the concealment of the operation rather than on the concealment of the identity of the sponsor. In special operations, an activity may be both covert and clandestine and may focus equally on operational considerations and intelligence-related activities".  (JP 1-02).

CLS.  Combat Life Saver.

CMO.  Civil Military Operation.  See CMO definition above.

CMOC. Civil-Military Operations Center.

COA.  Course of Action.

COI. Coordinator of Information, a World War II intelligence organization.

Combat Advising. There are many other terms that usually mean almost the same thing as combat advising; such as 'combat FID', 'operational advising', and others. U.S. Special Forces have a long history and deep experience in combat advising.

COFEE. Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor. For more on Microsoft COFEE see Intelligence: October Surprise, Strategy Page, March 6, 2015. See also a Microsoft news release (Oct 13, 2009) and Wikipedia page.

COIN.  Short for counterinsurgency. See counterinsurgency definition below.

Combat Control Team.  Abbreviated to CCT. An Air Force team that operates navigational and terminal guidance equipment in support of airborne operations.

Combat Search and Recovery.  Also CSAR.  The recovery of isolated personnel from hostile territory.  Usually referring to the search and rescue of downed pilots.  CSAR involves the tasks of detection, location, identification, authentification, extraction, transportation, and en route medical care of isolated personnel.

Combat Talon. Air Force Special Operations C-130 transport used to transport and infiltrate SOF teams.

Combating Terrorism.  "Actions, including antiterrorism (defensive measures taken to reduce vulnerability to terrorist acts) and counterterrorism (offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism) taken to oppose terrorism throughout the entire sprectrum.  Also called CBT.  (JP 1-02).

COMSEC.  Communications Security.

COMSOCCENT. Commander Special Operations Command Central.

COMUSSOCOM.  Commander United States Special Operations Command.

Compostion C-4.  C-4 is a military explosive made up of an explosive (RDX) and an additive that makes it putty-like for easy molding.  C-4 is used in the M112 demolition charge.

CONOPS.  Concept of Operation.  How a mission will be conducted.  Usually submitted by the executing unit (ODA) to higher headquarters for coordination purposes and approval. Can be a text document following OPORD structure or a series of PowerPoint slides that depict the operation.  Of late, the CONOP process for Special Forces detachments has become more complex.  For more on this topic click here.

Contract Air. The Special Operations community contracts with civilian companies to provide fixed-wing and rotary-wing air transport, ISR, and other services to its SOF units around the world. Learn more about special operations contract air.

Conventional Forces.  Forces capable of conducting operations using nonnuclear weapons; forces other than designated special operations forces.

COP.  Common Operating Picture.  A graphical display of unit locations used in C2PC, ADOCS, CPOF and other COP applications.

CORONA. Prior to the existence of Google Earth, used by SF 18Fs for Intel work, and other satellite imagery programs, most satellite photo-reconnaissance didn't exist for the public. The very first in existence was the CORONA program designed in the 1950s to find a way to provide broad imagery coverage of the USSR to identify missle launch sites and production facilties. Read more here.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). A new policy paradigm that aims to address structural and social conditions enabling recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism. CVE focuses on prevention - identifying and alleviating the underlying causes of injustice (poverty, religious tensions, ethnic conflict, political issues, etc.).

Counterinsurgency.  "Those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.  Also called COIN".  (JP 1-02).  . . . . For many years, starting in the early 1960s, Special Forces was the primary organization for the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and providing of instruction and training in counterinsurgency. Since SF was the primary agency for unconventional warfare it made perfect sense for SF to be the lead for counterinsurgency as well.  In the late 1980s SF started to loose its expertise in this area when, in search for missions to prove itself "relevant", it embraced SR and DA missions.  SF was slow to pick back up on the primary counterinsurgent role it had played in the 1960s through the 1980s in Vietnam, Latin America and elsewhere.  To learn more click on counterinsurgency.  See Joint Publication 3-24, Counterinsurgency Operations, 5 October 2009 on the dtic.mil website here.

Counterintelligence.  Information gathered and activities conducted to protect against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, or assassinations conducte by or on behalf of foreign governments or elements thereof, foreign organizations, or foreign persons, or international terrorist activities.  Sometimes abbreviated to CI.

Counterterrorism.  "Operations that include the offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, preempt, and respond to terrorism.  Also called CT".  (JP 1-02).  See Joint Publication 3-26, Counterterrorism, 13 November 2009 on the FAS.org website here.

Counterterrorism Partnership Fund (CTPF). The nation needs a flexible pot of cash that can fund counterterrorism and counterinsurgency training for our 'partner nations' but sadly a good funding mechanism does not exist. The Counterterrorism Partnership Fund is one of many types of funds that are limited by strange issues such as one-year funding restrictions, dual key authorities between State and DoD, etc.The CTPF was initially planned for a $5 billion resource of funds but as of early 2015 Congress only funded 25% of the requested budget - limiting the ability of USSOCOM and Special Forces units to conduct CT and COIN training overseas.

Country Team.  A team in a foreign country composed of U.S. personnel headed by the chief of the diplomatic mission.  Members of the country team will include the senior members of each US department or agency.

Cover. The use of 'cover' provides a veil with which SOF forces can conduct operations covertly. You can learn more about 'cover' by reading DoD Directive S-5205.61, "(U) DoD Cover and Cover Support Activities", July 15, 2014 here.

Covert Operation.  An operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor.  A covert operation differs from a clandestine operation in that emphasis is placed on concealment of identity of sponsor rather than on concealment of the operations.  In special operations, an activity may be both covert and clandestine.

CP.  Command Post.

CP. Counterproliferation.  A mission of Special Forces.

CPOF.  Command Post of the Future. Displays the Common Operating Picture (COP) and is networked within a JOC/TOC and other units and commands across the theater.

CQB.  Close Quarters Battle.

CRE.  Crisis Response Element.

Crypto.  Cryptography.

CS.  Combat Support.

CSAR.  Combat Search and Rescue.  See defination of Combat Search and Recovery above.

CSARTF.  Combat Search and Recovery Task Force.

CSEL.  Combat Survivor Evader Locator.

CSS.  Combat Service Support.

CT.  Counterterrorism.  A principal mission of Special Forces.  See Counterterrorism definition above.

CTPF. See Counterterrorism Partnership Fund above.

CV.  Critical Vulnerability.

CVE. See Countering Violent Extremism above.

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