USAF Jargon

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sat Jan 10 17:42:17 UTC 2004

A few months ago I started a new job working for the Air Force. I started
collecting various bits of jargon and slang overheard in meetings. I had
intended to take this up seriously, but I am now moving on to another job
(where I can collect Silicon Valley slang). So for the record, here is the
rather paltry collection that I acquired, or at least the ones I haven't
seen documented elsewhere:

"beeps and squeaks", electronic warfare

"BOGSAT", jocular acronym, "bunch of guys sitting around a table", as in
"that research project sounded very good, but it was only a BOGSAT"

"have the stick" in control, metaphor for a pilot flying a plane

"OBE", abbrev. for "overcome by events", no longer relevant, as in "stop
working on that document, it's OBE",(pronounced /oh-bee-ee/)

"suspense", a deadline, as in "what is the suspense on that document?"

"topcover", bureaucratic support from one's boss, from the aviation term for
high-altitude combat air patrol, as in "there will be resistance to this
idea so I'll need some topcover to succeed"

"VFR direct", straight and without pause, esp. used to mean jumping several
levels in the bureaucratic chain, as in "he went VFR direct to the Chief of
Staff", from aviation jargon "visual flight rules, direct" meaning a simple
flight plan.

--Dave Wilton
  dave at

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