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When APPS and AppStore Have Nothing to Do with APPLE – The Joy of Government Program Acronyms

Authored by Micheal Mullen

Government’s long list of acronyms often comes with unintended (or perhaps intended) double meanings. While our first role is to help GovWin members find new opportunities that best suit their company’s specialties, here are a few program names that caught our eye as we were searching through the INPUT database.

For instance, we were shocked to find that both APPS (Air Education and Training Command Planning and Programming System) and AppStore (Application Store Development) had nothing to do with APPLE (Adaptive Photonic Phaselocked Elements).

Action-focused program names are led by BOSS (Business Operations and Support Services) and BEST (Base Environmental Support), cranked up by AMPS (Advanced Mission Program for Space) and settling down with BLISS (Baghdad Life Support Services) and ABIR (Airforce Infrared Platforms and Sensors Capability for the Ballistic Missile Defense System).

Many raised eyebrows: JCREW (Joint Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare) has nothing to do with clothing, though LOS_BLOWS(Advanced Line of Site Beyond Line of Site Armament Systems Engineering Support) seems suitably hard-hitting. And the presumably non-odoriferous RIPIT (Requirements Integration and Process Improvement Team) actually made my nose twitch.

There are several genius names too. From the unabashedly brilliant AEHF / SMART-T(Advanced Extremely High Frequency Secure Mobile Antijam Reliable Tactical Terminal Repackaging and Uparmor Effort), the highly onomatopoeia-like power of NAVFAC PAC(Architect Engineer Services Follow On) and the surfer-meets-scientist appeal of RAD NUC (Capabilities to Support Detecting and Identifying Radiological Nuclear Materials in Freight Rail Cargo).

While simpler names from COBRA (Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance Analysis Program Support), ARMS (Aviation Resource Management System), AIMS (Aviation Integration and Maintenance Services), CAIN (Clustered Asset Inventory Network) andASTEROID (Army SMDC Technology Experimental Research Operations Integration and Development) did catch our eye, one truly stood out from all the others.

Oh, and it’s good.

The AWACS Flight Crew Trainer program helps train Air Force personnel on handling their flying radar stations but we were curious about why the contract’s acronym is represented by three simple letters that, when pronounced, need no explanation… “FCT.”

What’s Your Favorite Government Acronym?

As government contractors and employees you experience government-speak every day. Do you have any unfortunately (or awesomely) named programs, agencies or other entities that you work with? If so, please leave a comment below.

Micheal Mullen is a Senior Editor for GovWin.com. You can reach him at [email protected], or follow him via Twitter @idiottech.

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Joe Flood

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Pronounced “nymphs” which certainly confused me when I first started working at NOAA. In another organization, for a while the HQ was referred to as the Worldwide Office (WO) until they realized it sounded exactly like “woe.”

Kendra Turner

Our senior execs renamed themselves from the Operating Committee to the Headquarters Executive Committee – the HEC, leaving themselves open for “what the HEC?” and other uses of the acronym. The best part – they have a sense of humor, and contribute to the fun. I also remember when our headquarters went from “central office” to “national office” or “NO”. That didn’t last too long, but the regional offices had fun with it while it lasted. 🙂

Micheal Mullen

How could I not like this? After finishing it I got a new, Easter-ish sounding PES (pronounced PEZ) for Professional Engineering Services. How did I miss HEC? Would a “Cuss Words Acronyms in Government” piece be possible?

Thanks for the comment love.