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.


page numbers – Use figures and capitalize page when pairing with a figure. When adding a letter to the figure, capitalize it but do not hyphenate: Page 1, Page 13, Page 13C. There is one exception: It’s a Page One story.

PCS (permanent change of station) – Acceptable on first reference when writing for service members, families, service providers and leaders. Also acceptable in verb form, such as PCSed and PCSing. If writing for an audience not as likely to be familiar with the term, for example the broad audience of the Friends & Family Connection eNewsletter, write it out fully upon first reference and use the acronym sparingly on subsequent references.

phone numbers – Use figures. Use hyphens, not periods. For readability, keep phone numbers on one line of text. The form: 212-555-1234. For international numbers use 011, the country code, the city code and the telephone number: 011-44-20-7535-0000. The form for toll-free numbers: 800-342-9647. If an extension number is needed, use a comma to separate the main number from the extension: 212-621-1234, ext. 53.

please – Do not use please in content for Military Community and Family Policy digital properties, including websites, applications and social platforms. This includes website articles, collateral material and social posts. For example, do not say, “Please visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS when planning your next move.” Instead, say, “Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS when planning your next move.” Please is acceptable, however, in blogs and correspondence, as appropriate. Outreach Operations must approve all other exceptions.

post-traumatic stress disorder – Always lowercase and hyphenate except if written differently when used in a proper name (for example, National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder).

president – Capitalize only when using as a formal title before one or more names: President Abraham Lincoln, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Lowercase all other uses. Use the first and family name on first reference; use only the last name in subsequent references.

preventive – Never preventative

primary care manager – Refers to an assigned health care professional who provides all routine, non-emergency and urgent health care to those enrolled in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Young Adult Prime. Lowercase. Use acronym in subsequent references.

primary care provider – Refers to an assigned health care professional who provides all routine, non-emergency and urgent health care to those enrolled in the US Family Health Plan. Lowercase. 

privacy – Do not identify juveniles under the age of 18 who are accused of crime, even if other news media have done so. Do not identify, through text or images, juveniles who have been witnesses to crimes. Do not identify, through text or images, those who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they voluntarily identify themselves. There may be exceptions in extraordinary cases. For imagery guidelines, consult with MCO Outreach Operations staff.

privately owned vehicle – Always lowercase and never hyphenated. POV is acceptable on second reference.