Use of Terms A-Z

Military Community and Family Policy writing guidance aligns with The Associated Press Stylebook with a few exceptions. Definitions of military-specific terms appear below, along with editorial guidance for certain commonly used words for MC&FP and our programs. See additional writing guidance in the Writing Best Practices section. Find program-specific guidance in the Program Content Guides section.


National Guardsman – When referring to an individual in a National Guard unit, use National Guardsman. Lowercase guardsman when it stands alone.

Navy – Capitalize references to U.S. forces: the U.S. Navy, the Navy, Navy policy. Do not use USN. Lowercase when referring to naval forces of other nations: the French navy. Use "U.S." before service names only when the context is unclear without it.

no cost – Use this term only when communicating to a leadership audience about Military OneSource services for eligible individuals. Specifically, use when writing content for leaders pertaining to Military OneSource policy or the Military OneSource contract. Hyphenate when using as an adjective: no-cost services. When writing about Military OneSource services for service and family members and service providers, use the term free.


non-medical counseling – Confidential non-medical counseling is available through both Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling Program for prevention of the development or exacerbation of lifestyle conditions that may compromise military and family readiness. It addresses issues such as improving relationships at home and work, stress management, adjustment issues such as returning from a deployment, marital problems, parenting, grief and loss issues, and other military-related topics. Non-medical counseling is short term and solution focused. Note: When using in titles, capitalize as follows: Non-medical Counseling.