The Drone Papers – The Alphabet of Assassination (9-Glossary of Terms)


The Intercept – TRANSCEND Media Service

[The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret documents detailing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The documents, provided by a whistleblower, offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone wars. The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Intercept because he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government.]

  1. The Assassination Complex
  2. A Visual Glossary
  3. The Kill Chain
  4. Find, Fix, Finish
  5. Manhunting in the Hindu Kush
  6. Firing Blind
  7. The Life and Death of Objective Peckham
  8. Target Africa
  9. The Alphabet of Assassination (Glossary of Terms)

A guide to the acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms used in The Drone Papers. We defer to definitions provided in the source text where available; other interpretations are based on open source material.


ABI – Activity-Based Intelligence

ADNI/SRA – Asst. Director of National Intelligence for Systems and Resource Analyses

AF/AFG – Afghanistan

AFO – Advance Force Operations

AFRICOM – U.S. Africa Command

ANSF – Afghan National Security Forces

AO – Area of Operations

AOR – Area of Responsibility

AQ – Al Qaeda

AQ FAC – Al Qaeda Facilitator

AQIM – Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

AQSL – Al Qaeda Senior Leadership

AP – Arabian Peninsula

APG – Aerial Precision Geolocation

AUMF – Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001)


BBC – Baseball Card

BDA – Battle Damage Assessment

BDL – Bed-Down Location


CAOC – Combined Air and Space Operations Center

CAP – Combat Air Patrol

CAPE – Department of Defense Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation

CCMD – Combatant Command

CDE – Collateral Damage Environment

CELLEX – Cellular Exploitation

CF – Coalition Forces

CIVCAS – Civilian Casualties

CJSOTF – Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force

C-LRA – Counter-Lord’s Resistance Army

CNO – Computer Network Operations

CoM – Chief of Mission (Ambassador)

COMINT – Communications Intelligence

CONOP – Concept of Operations

CoS – Chief of Station (CIA)

CT – Counterterrorism


DNR COMINT – Dial Number Recognition Communications Intelligence

DOD – Department of Defense

DOMEX – Document and Media Exploitation


EA – East Africa

EKIA – Enemy Killed in Action

EWIA – Enemy Wounded in Action


F3EA – Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit/Analyze

FFF – Find, Fix, Finish

FMV or HD FMV – Full Motion Video or High Definition Full Motion Video

FOB – Forward Operating Base

FS – Fire Scout (unmanned helicopter)

FVEY – Five Eyes


GCC – Geographic Combatant Command

GOCO – Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated

GSM – Global System for Mobile Communication


HN – Host Nation

HOA – Horn of Africa

HUJI – Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami

HUMINT or HI – Human Intelligence

HVI – High-Value Individual


IC – Intelligence Community

IED – Improvised Explosive Device

IIR – Intelligence Information Report

IMINT – Imagery Intelligence

ISAF – International Security Assistance Force

IPB – Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace

IPOE – Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment

ISR – Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

IZ – Iraq


J2 – Intelligence Directorate of a Joint Staff

J5 – Plans Directorate of a Joint Staff

JP – Jackpot

JTL – Joint Target List

JWICS – Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System

JPEL – Joint Prioritized Effects List


LeT – Lashkar-e-Taiba


MAM – Military-Age Male

MARSOC – Marine Corps Special Operations Command

MC-12 – Manned surveillance aircraft

MEDEX – Media Exploitation

MFW – Medium Fixed-Wing (manned aircraft)

MQ-1 – General Atomics Predator drone

MQ-9 – General Atomics Reaper drone


NAI – Named Area of Interest

NAVAF – U.S. Naval Forces Africa

NSB – Yemeni National Security Bureau


OEF – Operation Enduring Freedom

OIF – Operation Iraqi Freedom

OBJ – Objective

ODTAAC – Outside a Defined Theater of Active Armed Conflict

OPTEMPO – Operational Tempo

OPSEC – Operations Security

OSD – Office of Secretary of Defense


PACOM – U.S. Pacific Command

PAX – Passengers

PDC/PC – Principals’ Deputies Committee / Principals Committee

P-3 – P-3 Orion (manned surveillance plane)

PID – Positive Identification

PKM – Machine gun

PTT COMINT – Push-to-Talk Communications Intelligence

POL – Pattern of Life

POTUS – President of the United States


ROE – Rules of Engagement

ROYG – Republic of Yemen Government

RPA – Remotely Piloted Aircraft (drone)


SE – Scan Eagle (surveillance drone)

SECDEF – Secretary of Defense

SIGINT or SI – Signals Intelligence

SITREP – Situation Report

SME – Subject Matter Expert

SNA – Social Network Analysis

SOCOM – U.S. Special Operations Command



TADS – Terror Attack Disruption Strikes

TB – Taliban

TF – Task Force

TIR – Tactical Interrogation Report

TTP – Tactics, Techniques, Procedures; Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan


U-28 – Manned surveillance plane


VBIED – Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device

VEO – Violent Extremist Organization

VID – Voice ID

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