DR. ACRONYM

aranoia strikes deep: The horizons of information warfare have been expanded of late, thanks to the nasty likes of technologically advanced nation-state-something-or-others such as Bosnia, Iraq, Iran and Libya, and their nasty tendency to thwart expensive hardware we Good Guys throw out there with bargain-basement frippery cobbled together from China, the separated, starving ex-Soviet Republics, and who knows who else (and of course, the Internet marketplace is to blame for bringing them all together).

Herewith, then, dear Readers, is a return by your humble Doc Ack to the stuff that made him famous: Decrypting and deciphering the liveliest acronyms, solecisms, portmanteaus and Chateauneuf De Papes floating on the horizon.

Here, then, we be jammin' with jammin' terms, analyzed for the first time in history via a Judeo-Christianesque biblical taxonomy: Deception begat World War II's electronic warfare, which begat Vietnam's suppression of enemy air defenses, which begat the Gulf War's command, control and communications countermeasures strategies, which begat post-Cold War C2W, which is now begetting 21st-century information warfare.

C3CM: command, control and communications countermeasures. It means cutting phone lines, jamming communications links, and generally making it gnarly for the enemy to organize him- or herself. It should be noted that in information warfare, acronyms may spawn counteracronyms based on measures to defeat the primordial acronym, hence: C-C3CM, countercommand, control and communications countermeasures; CC-C3M, which is the way to defeat countercommand, control and communications; and perhaps even CCC-C3M, which could logically be an acronym such as C3-C3CM.

C2W: command and control warfare, which is the new term for C3CM. The big Kahuna of military information warfare, which combines every form of attack imaginable: bombs, electronic warfare, psychological warfare, and deception and secrecy measures -- blinding enemy photographic satellites with a laser, for instance.

SEAD: suppression of enemy air defenses, done spectacularly in the Gulf War by F-4G Wild Weasel aircraft and EF-111 Raven radar jammers and the EA-6B Prowler, which has a gold-tinted cockpit to shield pilots' vital organs from radiation emanating from the 4 ALQ-99 jammer pods. The Air Force is retiring the Weasels and the Ravens, though a handful got a reprieve thanks to their performance in rescuing the recently downed Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot in Bosnia.

ASPJ: airborne self-protection jammer, a bunch of black boxes mounted in an airplane that warps enemy radar signals to hide a pilot's location, or, better yet, generate the appearance of thousands of attacking aircraft on enemy screens. An extremely complex technology, of which Westinghouse was a leader, because there are so many different types and forms of radar that can search for aircraft. At least 12 Navy aircraft are being outfitted with the boxes for service over Bosnia. Sen. David Pryor, D-Ark., doesn't like them, we hear.

EA: electronic attack, the leading component of EW (electronic warfare). Its siblings are EP, for protection, and ES, for support, that is, detection of enemy radar and signals. An ASPJ combines ED and ESM in one set of boxes.

HARM: The primary vehicle for EA is the high-speed anti-radiation missile, 2,000 of which were fired at Iraq to destroy radars and their crews. It sniffs out radars and chases them down and nails 'em, so well in fact that U.S HARMS attacked six U.S. radars during the Gulf War.

CW: continuous wave, a type of radar that puts out a continuous signal rather than pulses, which for a while was harder to jam -- until it was countered.

ALARM: The British version, the AL standing for air-launched.

ELINT: electronic intelligence.

TENCAP: tactical exploitation of national capabilities, a portmanteau if there ever was one. It means transmitting intelligence, such as spy satellite pictures.

ALARMed by HARM attacks? Doc Ack can't defend your radar dishes but he can decrypt your acronyms. Send your candidates to Doc Ack, c/o Beau Brendler at brendler@technews.com


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