Military Terms

Military Terms and Definitions and Acronyms

Accountability: The obligation imposed by law or lawful order or regulation on an officer
or other person for keeping accurate record of property, documents, or funds. The
person having this obligation may or may not have actual possession of the property,
documents, or funds. Accountability is concerned primarily with records, while
responsibility is concerned primarily with custody, care, and safekeeping.

Activation: Order to active duty (other than for training) in the federal service.

Active duty (AD):  Full-time duty in the active military service of the United States. This
includes members of the Reserve Components serving on active duty or full-time
training duty, but does not include full-time National Guard duty. Also called AD.

Active duty for special work:  A tour of active duty for reserve personnel authorized from
military and reserve personnel appropriations for work on active or reserve component
programs. This includes annual screening, training camp operations, training ship
operations, and unit conversion to new weapon systems when such duties are essential.
Active duty for special work may also be authorized to support study groups, training
sites and exercises, short-term projects, and doing administrative or support functions.
By policy, active duty for special work tours are normally limited to 179 days or less in
one fiscal year. Tours exceeding 180 days are accountable against active duty end

Active duty for training (ADT):  A tour of active duty which is used for training members of the
Reserve Components to provide trained units and qualified persons to fill the needs of
the Armed Forces in time of war or national emergency and such other times as the
national security requires. The member is under orders that provide for return to
non-active status when the period of active duty for training is completed. This
includes annual training, special tours of active duty for training, school tours, and the
initial duty for training performed by nonprior service enlistees. Also called ADT.

Active Guard and Reserve(AGR):  National Guard and Reserve members who are on voluntary
active duty providing full-time support to National Guard, Reserve, and Active
Component organizations for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting,
instructing, or training the Reserve Components. Also called AGR.

Active sealift forces: Military Sealift Command active, common-user sealift and the
afloat pre-positioning force, including the required cargo handling and delivery systems
as well as necessary operating personnel. See also afloat pre-positioning force;
common-user sealift; Military Sealift Command.

Active status: Status of all Reserves except those on an inactive status list or in the
Retired Reserve. Reservists in an active status may train for points and/or pay and may
be considered for promotion.

Activity: 1. A unit, organization, or installation performing a function or mission, e.g.,
reception center, redistribution center, naval station, naval shipyard. 2. A function,
mission, action, or collection of actions. Also called ACT.

Adaptation: The ability to adjust to new information and experiences.

Addiction: A condition in which the body requires a drug in order to function without physical and psychological reactions to its absence; often the outcome of tolerance and dependence.

Adult Day health Care Centers (ADHC): Are a safe an active environment with constant supervision designed for Veterans to get out of the home and participate in activities. ADHC centers employ caring professionals who will assess a Veteran’s rehabilitation needs and help a Veteran accomplish various tasks so he or she can maintain or regain personal independence and dignity. The ADHC centers emphasize a partnership with the caregiver, staff and Veteran.

Air Force Aid Society (AFAS): AFAS is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to help relieve financial distress of Air Force members and their families and assist them in financing their higher education goals. Active duty and retired Air Force members and their dependents are eligible for AFAS assistance, as are the dependents of deceased Air Force personnel who died on active duty or in retired status. Reservists and National Guard members serving on extended active duty over 30 days are eligible as well, but assistance is limited to emergencies incident to or resulting from the applicant's active duty tour.

Aggression: A type of behavior or action that is associated with anger (emotion).

American Red Cross: The American Red Cross aids sick and injured service personnel and their families in times of peace and conflict. It also provides social welfare services to needy military personnel and their families. The American Red Cross works closely with all services in providing and assisting in programs relating to the health, welfare, recreation, and morale of military personnel and their families.

American Red Cross services are provided by paid and volunteer staff at offices on military bases and in civilian communities through local American Red Cross chapters. Look in your local phone book to find the chapter nearest you. Some of the services provided by the American Red Cross are:

  • Emergency communications
  • Health and welfare inquiries
  • Information, Referral, and advocacy
  • Humanitarian reassignment and hardship
  • Discharge review and correction of military records for veterans
  • Emergency financial assistance
  • Health and Safety Courses Volunteer opportunities

Anger: A feeling/emotion; a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.

Applicant: An eligible entity that submits an application for a supportive services grant announced in a Notice of Fund Availability.

Armed forces: The military forces of a nation or a group of nations. 

Armed Forces of the United States: A term used to denote collectively all components
of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. See also United States
Armed Forces.

Assertiveness: A type of behavior/communication style that gives equal respect both your and another’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a conflict.

ASVAB: Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test administered by the military to determine qualification for enlistment in the Armed Forces.

Automatic response: Thoughts that are automatic or “pop up” without a person trying to “think” them.

Avoidance reactions: Behavior in which someone attempts to stay away from/avoid certain things/triggers (people, places, conversations, smells, sounds, etc.) that remind you of your trauma.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BHA): The military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is based on geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. The intent of BAH is to provide uniformed service members accurate and equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets, and is payable when government quarters are not provided. The military BAH rate is also used to determine the monthly housing stipend for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS): BAS is meant to offset the cost your meals.  BAS is intended to provide meals for the service member; the monthly rate is based on the price of food. Therefore, each year it is readjusted based upon the increase of the price of food as measured by the USDA food cost index.

Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are those persons who are entitled, either as a result of a prior election by the member or by operation of law, to receive certain death benefits, including, but not limited to, life insurance proceeds, dependency and indemnity compensation, unpaid compensation, Social Security benefits, and reimbursement of veterans education assistance plan contributions. Generally, the beneficiary is the person(s) whom the member designated on his/her DD Form 93, commonly referred to as a "Page 2" and located in the Member's service record.

Career Resource Center: Seminars, classes, testing, and individual counseling available for vocational and career development. Provides information on local employment opportunities and educational programs. Service members and spouses are eligible for services.

Casualty — Any person who is lost to the organization by having been declared dead, duty
status – whereabouts unknown, missing, ill, or injured. See also casualty category;
casualty status; casualty type; duty status – whereabouts unknown; hostile
casualty; nonhostile casualty.

Casualty assistance officer: A casualty assistance officer provides surviving spouses and children of deceased service member’s assistance throughout the casualty process. He or she is the person to whom you should address any of your questions, as he or she will be your primary connection to the Department of Defense. Each of the branches of service has different titles for their casualty assistance officers. Although the titles may differ, the services provided by each of these individuals are the same.

  • Army. Casualty Assistance Officer
  • Marine Corps. Casualty Assistance Calls Officer
  • Navy. Casualty Assistance Calls Officer
  • Air Force. Casualty Assistance Representative
  • Coast Guard. Casualty Assistance Calls Officer

Casualty status — A term used to classify a casualty for reporting purposes. There are
seven casualty statuses: (1) deceased; (2) duty status - whereabouts unknown; (3)
missing; (4) very seriously ill or injured; (5) seriously ill or injured; (6) incapacitating
illness or injury; and (7) not seriously injured. See also casualty; casualty category;
casualty type; deceased; duty status - whereabouts unknown; incapacitating
illness or injury; missing; not seriously injured; seriously ill or injured; very
seriously ill or injured.

Casualty type — A term used to identify a casualty for reporting purposes as either a hostile
casualty or a nonhostile casualty. See also casualty; casualty category; casualty
status; hostile casualty; nonhostile casualty.

Conflict: A fight, battle or war; competitive or opposing action of incompatibles (antagonistic state or action - as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons).

Conflict Resolution Model: A way of acting assertively in a situation; involves five steps: identify the problem, identify the feelings, identify the impact, make a decision and address/resolve.

Consequence: A result of an action or behavior.

Coping: The process of dealing with or overcoming problems and difficulties.

CONUS: Continental U.S.

Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA): To help offset the effects of higher cost areas, military service members.  COLA is designed to compensate for being stationed in certain "high-cost" locations in the continental United States (CONUS).

Crisis: An emotionally significant event or a radical change in a person's life.

DCoE: An acronym for the Defense Centers of Excellence.

Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS): DEERS is a computerized database of military sponsors, families and others worldwide who are entitled under the law to TRICARE benefits. For more information see the FAQ section.

Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS):  is an agency of the Defense under the direction of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). DFAS provides finance and accounting services for the civil and military members of the Department. Headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, it was activated on Jan. 18, 1991. DFAS is the world's largest finance and accounting operation. DFAS pays all DoD (Department of Defense) military and civilian personnel, retirees and annuitants, as well as major DoD contractors and vendors. DFAS also supports customers outside the DoD in support of electronic government initiatives. These customers include the Executive Office of the President, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Department of Defense (DD) Form 214: The Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty issued by the Department of Defense to each Veteran, identifying the Veteran's condition of discharge – honorable, general, other than honorable, dishonorable or bad conduct.

Dependent: For SSVF reporting purposes only, dependents are defined as children under the age of 18 at program entry. This reflects an alignment with HUD’s definition of “households with children and adults,” and can now be tracked in and reported out of HMIS. (Note: a Veteran may identify adult dependents as part of their “household”. These adult dependents may be served as part of the Veteran family, but for SSVF and HMIS reporting purposes, would not be reported as a “dependent”.)

Deployment: The process of extending or moving out a military unit.

Deployment Assistance: Once a service member is mobilized, family members may find they need assistance with a particular problem or be in need of general support. Regardless of which military branch the Reserve is serving in, family members can receive services from any military installation. What is available will vary according to installation staffing, active duty population, and geographical isolation. If you do not live near an installation, many of the services can be provided via the telephone and e-mail.

Deployment phase: The deployment phase of the cycle begins with the physical movement of individuals and units from their home installation to the designated theater of operations. This phase of the deployment cycle can be a stressful time for service members and their families as they face the realities of a deployment and what that means for them. The remainder of the deployment phase primarily involves the performance of military duties in support of the mission either in the theater of operations (overseas) or within the United States. Near the end of the deployment phase, the unit will begin preparations for its return to the home installation, culminating with the unit’s redeployment home.

Depression: An emotional state marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.

Discharge: Complete separation from all military status gained by the enlistment or induction concerned.

Disabled Transition Assistance Program (DTAP): DTAP provides separating and retiring service members including eligible National Guard and Reserve service members being released from active duty with specialized information about the Department of Veterans (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program, eligibility, and how to apply for benefits. Active duty service members who believe they have a service-connected disability are strongly encouraged to request admission to the DTAP class through their Transition/ACAP/Command Career Counselor (or nit commander. For National Guard and Reserves, DTAP is available on a DTAP CD and on-line at Eligible service members (Active, National Guard and Reserves) who are pending a medical separation or medical retirement and who have an employment handicap may begin to receive VR&E services prior to separation or release from active duty if they have a need for rehabilitative services and have applied for and received a VA Memorandum Rating of at least 20 percent.

DoD: Department of defense. Federal department in charge of organizing and supervising all agencies related directly to national defense, specifically the Armed Forces.

Eligible child care provider: A provider of child care services for compensation, including a provider of care for a school-age child during non-school hours, that: (1) is licensed, regulated, registered, or otherwise legally operating, under state and local law, and (2) satisfies the state and local requirements, applicable to the child care services the provider provides.

Eligible entity: (1) private non-profit organization, or (2) consumer cooperative.

Emergency Housing Assistance: The provision of up to 30 days of temporary housing that does not require the participant to sign a lease or occupancy agreement. The cost cannot exceed the reasonable community standard for such housing. Emergency housing is limited to short-term commercial residences (private residences are not eligible for such funding) not already funded to provide on-demand emergency shelter (such as emergency congregate shelters).

Emergency supplies: Items necessary for a participant’s life or safety that are provided to the participant by a grantee on a temporary basis in order to address the participant’s emergency situation.

Exceptional Family Member Program: Maintain and provide up-to-date information for families who have a special need family member. Information includes local special education programs and medically-related services available aboard base and in the community.

Family Advocacy Program: Assistance is provided for situations involving child abuse, child neglect, or spouse abuse. Classes and groups geared toward preventing family problems are generally offered. Confidential victim advocacy is generally offered.

Family Assistance Center: The State Area Command (STARC) within the State National Guard Military Headquarters will usually activate a Family Assistance Center (FAC) when a reserve unit is mobilized. The FAC will provide current information concerning family support available within the state to include military, federal, state, and local civilian support to military family members. It will also provide government forms and assistance in filling them out. Check with your STARC to locate the FAC nearest you.

Financial Management Assistance: Professional counseling available regarding financial management including budget preparation, understanding the LES, investing, debt management, and credit management.

Flashback: A past incident/event reoccurring vividly in the mind.

Fleet and Family Support Center: Active military bases have a Navy Fleet and Family Support Center, Marine Corps Community Service Center, Air Force Family Service Center or Army Community Service Center. Although names vary, most of the services are the same. Centers are staffed by highly trained human services professionals and volunteers. All programs are free of charge.

Family Separation Allowance (FSA): A service member with dependents who serves an unaccompanied tour of duty may be entitled to a family separation allowance (FSA) of $250 per month. FSA accrues from the day of departure from the home station and ends the day prior to arrival at the home station.

General Housing Stability Assistance: The provision of goods or payment of expenses not included in other sections but which are directly related to support a participant's housing stability, and are not available through existing mainstream and community resources. It should be noted that Emergency Supplies (38 CFR 62.34(e) are a subcategory of General

Gold Star Advocate: The National Defense Authorization Act 2014, Section 633, requires each secretary of a military department to designate a member to assist spouses and other dependents of service members, including Reserve Component, who die on active duty. These advocates are available to provide support and address complaints by spouses and other dependents of deceased service members regarding casualty assistance or receipt of benefits authorized by law.

Grief: A normal and natural reaction to loss.

Guilt: Feelings of culpability/responsibility especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy.

Grantee: An eligible entity that is awarded a supportive services grant.

Hardship Duty Pay(HDP-L):  Hardship duty pay is additional compensation paid to service members assigned to locations where living conditions are substantially below those conditions in the continental U.S. (CONUS). 

Household: All persons as identified by the Veteran, together present for services and identify themselves as being part of the same household.

Individual Augmentee Deployment: Individual augmentee (IA) deployment occurs when a service member receives orders to deploy individually or with a small group to augment a different unit. This type of deployment is different from deployments that occur when an entire unit, squadron, or ship is ordered to deploy. An IA can be an active duty, a National Guard, or a Reserve service member, and can either volunteer for IA service or be selected for it. usually IAs are Navy and Air Force service members that augment an Army or Marine Corps unit. Deploying IA Sailors and Airmen usually require additional training and can be ordered to tours longer in length than a traditional deployment.

When called for an IA deployment, service members usually have shorter notification times, lack specific information concerning their deployment, and are often deployed to areas that present communication challenges. More information on the IA program can be found on these websites:

Individual and Family Counseling: Professional counselors will provide confidential short-term counseling services, information, and referrals. Life skills classes and groups are generally offered.

Insomnia: Prolonged and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep.

Isolation: To be alone, set apart or separate from others; a common behavior for service members following the return from deployment and is often associated with depression and post-traumatic stress reactions.

Key Volunteer Program (USMC): The Key Volunteer Network (KVN) is an official Marine Corps program whose mission is to be an integral part of the Commander's official family readiness program, and is the primary communication link between the commanding officer and unit families for the enhancement of mission readiness. The KVN is comprised of spouses of Marines within a unit who volunteer to assist the command in its family readiness program. The Key Volunteers and Key Volunteer Coordinator are appointed by the Commander and receive training in communication, information and referral, and other topics. Reflecting the Commanding Officer's guidance and policies, the Key Volunteer Network is formed within a unit to keep families better informed about the mission and tasks of that unit and to assist in establishing a sense of community among the unit families.

Legal Assistance: Active duty members, activated Reserve and Guard members, and their family members are eligible to seek legal aid and assistance from any military installation where there is a legal assistance office. A Legal Assistance Officer provides counseling and assistance with personal legal problems, claims services, and trial defense services. Legal advice and assistance available. Wills, powers of attorney, and bills of sale. Domestic relations (adoption, separation, nonsupport) Change of name, notarizations, civil rights, depositions. Citizenship, immigration, and passports. Damage to personal property. Referral to civilian lawyers when appropriate.

Military Funeral Honors: Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the nation's deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful nation can provide to the veteran's family. By law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the playing of Taps and the folding to the next of kin. Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by Ceremonial Bugle, or electronic recording (CD or tape).

Military Life Insurance (SGLI): SGLI is a VA program that provides low cost group life insurance to members of the Uniformed Services, including commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, cadets and midshipmen of the service academies. Members are automatically insured under Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) for the maximum amount of $400,000 unless an election is filed reducing the insurance by $50,000 increments or canceling it entirely. In addition the SGLI coverage now includes Traumatic Injury Protection. This coverage provides service members protection against loss due to traumatic injuries and is designed to provide financial assistance to members so their loved ones can be with them during their recovery from their injuries.  The coverage ranges from $25,000 to $100,000 depending on the nature of the injury.

Military Pay: In addition to military basic pay, benefits, and allowances, members of the armed forces may also receive special pays and incentive pays depending on their career field or location. Special pays include hardship duty pay, foreign language pay, sea pay, special assignment pay, and flight pay. Unlike military allowances, special pay is taxable unless the member is earning the pay while in a designated combat zone.

Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA): The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 of Financial Assistance for military spouses who are pursuing degree programs, licenses or credentials leading to employment in portable career fields. Spouses can contact MilitaryOneSource for education counseling and help finding alternative funding sources. Call toll free at: 1.800.342.9647.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is a private, nonprofit organization that helps the Navy and Marine Corps take care of their own. It may provide financial assistance for a variety of valid needs, ranging from the costs of setting up a household to disaster relief. However, the Relief Society does not assist with the purchase of nonessentials, nor does it supplement the income of persons who habitually live beyond their means. Interest-free loans, grants, or combinations of loans and grants may also be approved.

Notice of Fund Availability (NOFA): A NOFA is published in the Federal Register in accordance with 38 CFR 62.40, which announces the availability of funds for supportive services grants.

Officer in Charge (OIC): A commissioned Navy Officer in charge of an organization, facility or function, responsible for a group of Officers and Sailors in the organization.

Permanent change of station (PCS): When new orders are given to move to another duty station, unit or base.

Pre-deployment: The onset of this stage begins with the warning order for deployment. This stage ends when the service member actually departs from home station. The pre-deployment timeframe is extremely variable from several weeks to more than a year. The pre-deployment stage is characterized alternately by denial and anticipation of loss. 2. Pre-Deployment is the period prior to deployment during which deploying personnel and their families prepare for deployment. Pre-Deployment activities include: administrative actions, briefings, training, counseling, and health assessment.

Pre-deployment phase

When not deployed, service members and their units undergo traditional training to prepare for the conduct of military duties. During this phase, service members go through normal training and medical evaluations that maintain their personal and unit readiness level. From the family point of view, this phase is "normal life," as the service member is at home and going to work on a regular basis. Near the end of this phase, the unit will be alerted for possible deployment and will receive orders to mobilize. Upon receiving a mobilization alert, preparation for deployment begins, including required briefings, additional training, medical and dental evaluations, and possibly counseling to ensure that service members are ready and able to be deployed. The pre-deployment phase ends when service members or their units physically leave the home installation for the theater of operations.

Primary Next of Kin (PNOK): For most of us, the term "next of kin" means more than one person. It may mean a person's spouse and children, or it may extend to a person's parents and siblings as well. When the military refers to a next of kin, the term PNOK is used to identify one person who will receive notification of the death of the service member and from whom the military will request instructions for the transportation, preparation and interment of the deceased.

Projected Rotation Date (PRD): Date on which a Navy Officer or Sailor’s next duty station is established based on their pay grade and community.

Post-traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD): A psychological reaction occurring after experiencing a highly stressing event (as wartime combat, physical violence, or a natural disaster) that is usually characterized by depression, anxiety, flashbacks, recurrent nightmares, and avoidance of reminders of the event.

Psychiatrist: An individual who has obtained an M.D. degree and also has completed postdoctoral specialty training in mental and emotional disorders; a psychiatrist may prescribe medications for the treatment of psychological disorders.

Psychological dependence: The psychological need or craving for a drug.

Psychological diagnosis: The label given to psychological abnormality by classifying and categorizing the observed behavior pattern into an approved diagnostic system.

Psychologist: An individual with a doctoral degree in psychology from an organized, sequential program in a regionally accredited university or professional school.

Psychology: The scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes.

Reintegration phase: This phase includes reintegration into family life and the community, as well as reintegration into regular military duties. Units may require service members to complete follow-on briefings, training, counseling, and medical evaluations during this phase. Service members and their families may experience some stress during this phase, as everyone readjusts to life together. Many support services are available for service members and their families to make this readjustment easier, either through the branches of Service or through the community.

Relocation Services: This program offers assistance to military members and their families in relocating from one installation to another. Provides useful and interesting information regarding local community and travel. Operates loan locker for basic necessities and SITES program (web-based information on world-wide military installations).

Separation: A general term that includes discharge, release from active duty, release from custody and control of the Armed Forces, transfer to the Individual Ready Reserve, and similar changes in active or reserve status.

Survivor Benefit Plan: The Survivor Benefit Plan has two parts:  active duty coverage and retirement coverage.  It is similar to life insurance in that it pays a cash benefit to eligible survivors, as long as they remain eligible.  Provided the beneficiary does not lose their eligibility, they may continue to receive SBP payments for the length of their life.  Coverage is automatic and free while on active duty, but it requires a decision at retirement and retirees pay a premium each month to continue their SBP coverage.  While not free after retirement, it is quite inexpensive compared to similar policies available on the commercial market.  Annuity payments from SBP are taxable to the recipient. More information can be found in the FAQ section.

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC):  Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a monetary compensation  (paid in addition to the regular VA Disability Compensation) to a veteran who, as a result of military service, incurred the loss or loss of use of specific organs or extremities.

Stigma: Stigma is defined by The New Oxford American Dictionary as "a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance." In other words, a group of people are stigmatized or rejected if they are seen as different from or worse off than their peers.

Stress: A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.

Stressor: Internal or external "signals" that cause stress.

Substance: Something (as drugs or alcoholic beverages) deemed harmful and usually subject to legal restriction.

Supportive services: Any of the following provided to address the needs of a participant :(1) Outreach services as specified under 38 CFR 62.30. (2) Case management services as specified under 38 CFR 62.31.(3) Assisting participants in obtaining VA benefits as specified under 38 CFR 62.32.(4) Assisting participants in obtaining and coordinating other public benefits as specified under 38 CFR 62.33.(5) Other services as specified under 38 CFR 62.34.Supportive services grant: A grant awarded under the SSVF Program.Supportive services grant agreement: The agreement executed between VA and a grantee as specified under 38 CFR 62.50.

Suspension: An action by VA that temporarily withdraws VA funding under a supportive services grant, pending corrective action by the grantee or pending a decision to terminate the supportive services grant by VA. Suspension of a supportive services grant is a separate action from suspension under VA regulations implementing Executive Orders 12549 and 12689, “Debarment and Suspension”

Temporary Living Allowance (TLA):  Money paid for temporary living expenses.

TRICARE:  Provides health care coverage for medical services, medications, and dental care for military families and retirees and their and survivors. 
TRICARE gets its name based on the three levels of coverage -- TRICARE Prime, Standard, and Extra. TRICARE offers beneficiaries retail and home delivery pharmacy benefits, TRICARE Dental, and a program for Medicare eligible military retirees known as TRICARE for Life.

Transition Benefits: Benefits provided to assist Service members during the transition process. Eligibility for certain types of transition benefits will depend on the nature and characterization your discharge.

Transition Services: For Active Component service members this includes mandatory Pre-separation Counseling, voluntary attendance to a Department of Labor Employment Workshop, voluntary attendance to a VA Benefits Briefings and a VA Disabled Transition Assistance Program (DTAP) Briefing. Active Component service members are eligible begin the transition process one year prior to separation and retirees can begin the transition process two years prior to retirement. Eligibility for services is not affected by length or character or service.

Traumatic brain Injury (TBI): Traumatic brain Injury (TBI) happens when something hits the head heard or makes it move quickly. Injuries may be due to blasts in combat, or as a result of motor vehicle accidents, falls, falling or flying objects, or assaults. TBI is called “mild,” and may also be referred to as a concussion, when there is a brief change in awareness or consciousness at the time the injury occurs. It is called ‘moderate” or “severe” when there is longer period of unconsciousness or amnesia, which means memory loss. The initial injury does not necessarily predict what long-term symptoms and individual may have.

Trauma: An agent, force, or mechanism that causes significant distress; a psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental, emotional or physical stress.

Trauma Trigger: Something that reminds you of your trauma and is usually associated with unwanted thoughts or memories of the event(s). Can include: sights, sounds, smells, body sensations, internal thoughts/memories/feelings.

Transition in Place (TIP): Programs where the very low-income Veteran family maintains an independent lease with a landlord and maintains lease rights to the unit throughout TIP program enrollment and conclusion without exception are considered permanent housing.

Tuition Assistance (TA):  Military Tuition Assistance is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to 100% for the tuition expenses of its members. Each service has its own criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application processes and restrictions. This money is usually paid directly to the institution by the individual services.

USA4 Military Families Initiative: Engage and educate policymakers, non-for-profit associations, concerned business interests, and other state leaders about the needs of military members and their families.

United Service Organization (USO): USO, a private civilian organization, offers centers away from military installations for the relaxation and recreating of service members and their families. Many of the USO centers have snack bars, game rooms, reading rooms, travel and tour centers and other recreational facilities. Some USO centers are located in major airports and provide sleeping berths for adults and children who are awaiting flights.

The USO also works with the Armed Forces to provide live entertainment shows for installation and hospitals in the United States and overseas. Many USO's also offer discount tickets for plays and movies, and can recommend places to stay overnight. The USO now includes help for military personnel and family members with various social problems such as drug abuse, family troubles, and financial stress.

VA: Department of Veterans Affairs

VBA: Veterans Benefits Administration

Veteran: A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released there from under conditions other than dishonorable. Veteran family: A Veteran who is a single person or a family in which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is a Veteran.

VHA: Veterans Health Administration Very low-income Veteran family: A Veteran family whose annual income, as determined in accordance with 24 CFR 5.609, does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for an area or community (current income limits can be found at

Women, Infants & Children (WIC): WIC is a food and nutrition program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. Local agencies deliver WIC benefits to participants. WIC helps prevent malnutrition in low-income pregnant females, breastfeeding mothers, new mothers, infants, and children up to the age of 5 years old who are at risk due to inadequate nutrition. WIC provides nutritious foods such as dairy products, beans, and peanut butter. Infants may receive iron-fortified formula, cereal, and juice. Participants receive coupons that they may redeem for food at retail stores which are authorized to accept WIC coupons. Nutritional education and referrals are provided.

WIC is free of cost for eligible participants. To determine eligibility and locate the nearest WIC clinic, call 1(800)345-1942.

Withholding: Payment of a supportive services grant will not be paid until such time as VA determines that the grantee provides sufficiently adequate documentation and/or actions to correct a deficiency for the supportive services grant. Costs for supportive services provided by grantees under the supportive services grant from the date of the withholding letter would be reimbursed only if the grantee is able to submit the documentation or actions that the deficiency has been corrected to the satisfaction of VA.

Wellness: Optimal health, incorporating the ability to function fully and actively over the physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental domains of health.

Withdrawal: The syndrome of often painful physical and psychological symptoms that follows discontinuance of an addicting drug (substances); social or emotional detachment (psychological/physical).

Yellow Ribbon Program: Provides quality Joint deployment support and reintegration services to all Service members and their Families effectively, efficiently, and as close to their homes as possible, ensuring they are informed, and self sufficient, thus enabling them to sustain the rigors associated with deployment or mobilization.