Operations Glossary > S
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
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S-1. Administration and
S-2. Intelligence Staff
Officer or intelligence section.
S-2X. Intelligence Staff
Officer or intelligence section that deals with Counterintelligence (CI)
or Human Intelligence (HUMINT).
S-3. Operations and training.
S-4. Logistics and/or
S-5. Civil Affairs.
S-6. Signal and communications.
SA. Security Assistance.
"Group of programs authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as
amended, and the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, as amended, or other
related statutes by which the United States provides defense articles,
military training, and other defense-related services by grant, loan,
credit, or cash sales in furtherance of national policies and objectives".
SA. Situational Awareness.
SADM. Special Atomic Demolition
Munition. The MK54 was informally named the 'backpack nuke'. Specialty
teams in the Special Forces groups were designated as SADM teams and
trained to infilitrate and employ the weapons. Read more
SAEDA. Subversion and
Espionage Directed Against the U.S. Army.
SAFE. Selected Area for
SAID. Selected Area for
Evasion (SAFE) Area Intelligence Description.
SALUTE. Size, Activity,
Location, Unit, Time, and Equipment.
SAM. Surface to Air Missile.
SAMS. School of Advanced Military
Studies. An Army honors course that concentrates on the operational level.
SAR. Search and Rescue.
SARDOT. Search and Rescue
Dot (on a map).
SARNEG. Search and Rescue
Numerical Encrypton Grid.
SAW. Squad Automatic Weapon.
SBF. Support by Fire.
Antijam Man-Portable Radio.
SCI. Sensitive Compartmented
Compartmented Information Facility.
SDV. SEAL Delivery Vehicle.
SEAD. Suppression of Enemy
SEAL. Sea-Air-Land team or
Secret Writing. When conducting
Unconventional Warfare in a denied rural area access to technology and
advanced messaging may be limited. This was especially true in the early
history of Special Forces and methods of secret communication were used by
SF. The CIA provides a history of
secret writing techniques.
Semtex. Semtex is the trade
name of an explosive made in Czechoslovakia. It is a combination of
RDX, PETN, and an additive.
SERE. Survival, Evasion,
Resistance, Escape. See SERE.
SF. Special Forces. Found
only in the U.S. Army.
SFAS. Special Forces
Assessment and Selection. A three-week course that Special Forces
candidates attend to determine if they are suitable for the Special Forces
Qualification Course (SFQC). See
SFAUC. Special Forces
Advanced Urban Combat. See
SFG(A). Special Forces Group
SFLE. Special Forces Liaison
SFOB. Special Forces
Operational Base. Usually denotes a group level organization in a
deployed location or status.
SFOD. Special Forces
SFODA. Special Forces
Operational Detachment Alpha. Sometimes referred to as an "A team"
SFODB. Special Forces
Operational Detachment Bravo. Sometimes referred to as a "B team",
"ODB", or "AOB". A company sized headquarters commanded by a Special
SFQC. Special Forces
Qualification Course. See
Shadow Wolves. An elite tracking
unit within Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The 'Wolves' are an
all-Native American group that track drug smugglers and traffickers in the
desert between Arizona and Mexico.
SIGCEN. A signal center
usually found in an FOB (SOTF) or SFOB (CJSOTF).
SIGINT. Signal Intelligence.
Ground and Airborne Radio System.
SIPR. Secure Internet
SIPRNET. SECRET Internet
Protocol Router Network.
SIR. Specific Information
SITEMP. Situation Template.
SITMAP. Situation Map.
Usually setup on the wall of an operations center of AOB, FOB, or SFOB.
The SITMAPs are now complemented (if not replaced) by computer based
graphical systems that are networked.
SITREP. Situation Report.
Skyhook. An informal name for the
Fulton Surface-to-Air Recovery System or STARS. Used to exfiltrate
individuals or important packages from denied areas where an fixed wing
aircraft can't land and beyond the range of rotary wing aircraft.
SME. Subject Matter Expert.
SMU. Special Mission Unit.
SO. Special Operations.
SOA. Special Operations
SOAR. Special Operations
Aviation Regiment. See 160th SOAR.
SOC. Special Operations
Command. Usually refers to the theater Special Operations Commands
such as SOCEUR, SOCCENT, etc.
Operations Command Africa.
SOCAP. Special Operations Campaign
Artist Program (SOCAP). This 18-week long course conducted at Fort
Leavenworth, Kansas prepares planners to serve in the Theater Special
Operations Commands (TSOC). It is similiar to the Red Team Leaders Course.
SOCAP " . . . was created in conjunction with the SOF Cell at the U.S.
Army Comined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth. The course improves a
planner's ability to translate strategic policy into operational plans and
tactical action, with a particular emphasis on operational-level special
warfare campaign planning in support of TSOCs and joint force commander's
SOCCE. A Special Operations
Command and Control Element. As in SOCCE-HOA. A SOCCE will
sometimes be attached to a corps or division level element in wartime or
during a large exercise that involves a large conventional unit and
Special Forces elements.
SOCEUR. Special Operations Command
SOCCENT. Special Operations
SOCKOR. Special Operations
SOCPAC. Special Operations Command
SOCSOUTH. Special Operations
SOCOORD. Special Operations
SODARS. Special Operations
Debrief and Retrieval System.
SOD-X. Special Operations
Detachment "X", part of the North Carolina Army National Guard supporting
JSOC. Read more in this
SOF. Special Operations
Forces. Not to be confused with Special Forces (found only in the
SOFA. Status of Forces
SOI. Signal Operating
SOJTF-B. Special Operations Joint
Task Force - Bragg. Subordinate to U.S. Special Operations Command and
trains U.S. special operators prior to deployment overseas on missions.
The first commander was
BG Mark C. Schwartz. Read a
news story on SOJTF-B.
SOLE. Special Operations
SOMPF. Special Operations
Mission Planning Folder.
SOMS-B. Special Operations
Media Systems - Broadcast.
SORO. See Special Operations
Research Office below.
SOP. Standing Operating
SOPC. Special Operations
Preparation Course. A 30-day long course that 18X and Rep 63 Special
Forces candidates attend to prepare them for SFAS and SFQC.
SOTF. Special Operations
Task Force. Usually a battalion-sized Special Forces unit augmented
with other personnel and attached units.
SOWT. Special Operations
Weather Team. "A task-organized team of Air Force personnel
organized, trained, and equipped to collect critical weather observations
from data-sparse areas. These teams are trained to operate
independently in permissive or uncertain environments, or as augmentation
to other special operations elements in hostile environments, in direct
support of special operations". (JP 1-02). See SWO below.
SP. Start Point.
Usually for a ground movement or convoy.
Special Action Force (SAF). There
were two SAFs known to operate in the 1960s. One was the 8th Special
Action Force in Panama and the other was the Special Action Force Asia
(SAFASIA) based in Okinawa. The core of the SAF was the Special Forces
Group but it was augmented with other units or elements such as engineer,
medical, intelligence, PSYOP, CA, logistics, infantry, and aviation.
Special Collection Service. A
joint group of the CIA and NSA that are responsible for placing high-tech
bugs in hard-to-emplace locations.
Special Operations Research Office (SORO).
A entity within the American University that operated in the 1960s. The
office provided scholarly works on revolutions, insurgencies,
unconventional warfare, and undergrounds.
Spectre. Nickname for the
Air Force AC-130 Gunship.
SPOE. Seaport of
SPINS. Special Instructions.
A specific part of the Air Tasking Order (ATO).
SPTCEN. Support Center found
at battalion or group level in a Special Operations task force.
SR. Special Reconnaissance.
One of the missions of a Special Forces ODA.
SSE. Sensitive Site
SSO. Special Security
Stability Operations. After
the conclusion of sustained combat operations military forces will
sometimes need to transition to stability operations which will many times
involve combat and noncombat operations. Short term goals of
stability operations include securing and safeguarding the population,
reestablishing civil law and order, protecting or rebuilding key
infrastructure, and restoring public services. Long term goals
include the establishment of essential services, the economy, rule of law,
democratic institutions, and capable civil authorities. Military
forces will work with civil authorities, NGOs, and other organizations to
enhance security, development, and governance.
methodology of the hiding of the existence of a message.
StingRay. A cell-tower simulator
that provides surveillance capability to law enforcement and other Intel
types. See a
news story on the StingRay in The Washington Post.
STS. Special Tactics
Squadron. A Special Operations element of the Air Force.
STU-III. Secure Telephone
Substitution Cipher. A
method of encryption in which each letter of a message is replaced with
Subversion. "Action designed
to undermine the military, economic, psychological, or political strength
or morale of a regime". (JP 1-02).
Surface-to-Air Recovery System (STARS).
Another names include: Fulton Extraction, Skyhook, and
Fulton Recovery System. See Skyhook above.
SUV. Sport Utility Vehicle.
SWCS. U.S. Army John F.
Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. Learn more about
SWO. Staff Weather Officer.
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1. For this quote on SOCAP see ARSOF 2022, Part
II, USASOC, 2014. Page 6.
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