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PRISM | National Defense University
The Journal of Complex Operations
The Center for Complex Operations announces the publication of its
Complex Operations Lexicon
This on-line lexicon is intended as a tool to help strip away one source of the endemic miscommunication and friction that now plagues both soldiers and civilians, government and non-government, who plan, coordinate, and execute the complex set of overlapping civil-military activities and tasks that have come to characterize armed conflicts and their aftermath. Part of that confusion stems from the widely varied vocabulary used by these many actors. Each organization possesses its own unique terminology, perfectly clear to its members, but foggy to others. Even when words look and sound familiar they often have quite different and sometimes alien meanings. Anyone who has attended an acronym and jargon-laced coordination meeting of military, civilian government, and NGO representatives knows the frustration of trying to interpret what is meant by words that have many different connotations. Nonetheless, it does not strive to establish a single agreed meaning for each term. Indeed, such a list may well be unrealistic if not impossible, and certainly beyond the scope of this publication. Rather, each word or phrase includes one or more definitions reflecting various organizational vocabularies. In that way the meaning of a term employed by one may become understandable to another.The lexicon makes no claim to be either complete or officially sanctioned; it is intended as a tool to help practitioners and policy makers understand each other, not to satisfy an academic or doctrinal pedant. Indeed, the Center for Complex Operations views this as a living document. In keeping with that intent, users are invited to offer new terms and definitions, updates, corrections, and constructive comments via email at email@example.com. With your help, the lexicon will be continually updated and remain a useful and practical resource for all involved in complex operations.To read the full publication, please click on the attachment below.