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Special Forces Berlin
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Special Operations Glossary

Home > Special Operations Glossary > D

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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DA.  Direct Action. One of the primary missions of Special Forces. See definition below.

DACO.  Departure Airfield Control Officer.

DAMA.  Demand-Assigned Multiple Access.

DAO.  Defense Attache Officer.

DAP.  Direct Action Penetrator (MH-60L). This aircraft carries 2.75-inch rockets and chain guns.

DATT.  Defense Attache.

DCM. Deputy Chief of Mission.

DCU.  Desert Camouflage Uniform.  Used during early OIF war timeframe. Repaced with the ACUs.

DEA. Drug Enforcement Adminstration.

Dead Drop Spike. Use for communication between agens and their handlers. A "dead drop" allows secure communication by one person leaving and the other person picking up the material later at a prearranged location. This eliminates the need for direct contact. A dead drop spike is a device that is pushed into the ground, is hollow, and can hold messages, documents or film. View a picture on the CIA website.

Deception.  Those measures designed to mislead the enemy by manipulation, distortion, or falsification of evidence to induce him to react in a manner prejudicial to his interests.

Delta Force.  U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment unit tasked with counterrorist operations.

Demo.  Demolitions or explosives.

Det 101.  Detachment 101.  Det 101, a sub-unit of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II, created, supplied, trained, led and fought with the Kachin Rangers in the Asian theater (Burman) against the Japanese.  See OSS Det 101.

Det A. A detachment of Special Forces stationed in Berlin, Germany that conducted unconventional warfare and intelligence missions during the Cold War. Learn more about Det A here.

Det Cord.  Detonating Cord.  Det cord is used to initiate detonators and other explosives.  It usually consists of an explosive (PETN) wrapped in plastic coating.  Det cord is similiar to U.S. Military time fuse.

DF.  Direction Finding - as in homing in on your or the enemy's radio transmissions.

DIA.  Defense Intelligence Agency.

Direct Action.  Or DA.  Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions by special operations forces to seize, destroy, capture, recover, or inflict damage on designated personnel or material.  In the conduct of these operations, special operations forces may employ raid, ambush, or direct assault tactics; emplace mines and other munitions; conduct standoff attacks by fire from air, ground, or maritime platforms; provide terminal guidance for precision-guided munitions; and conduct independent sabotage.

DISUM.  Daily Intelligence Summary.

DMA.  Defense Mapping Agency.

DNC.  Digital nautical chart.

DoDD. Department of Defense Directive.

DOS. Department of State.

DPPC.  Deployable Print Production Center.

DS. Direct Support.

DSN.  Defense Switched Network.  As in DSN phone.

DTG.  Date Time Group.  As in 1734LSEP11.

DTOC. Division Tactical Operations Center.

DZ. Drop Zone.

DZSO.  Drop Zone Safety Officer.


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