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.


undersecretary – One word, lowercase unless preceding a name in a title.

Uniform Code of Military Justice – Spell out on first reference, then use UCMJ.

United States – Refers to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Use the abbreviation U.S. in texts and US in headlines.

URL – Acceptable in all references to Uniform Resource Locator. When the URL doesn't fit on one line, break into two or more lines without a hyphen or other punctuation. In printed or downloaded documents, such as fact sheets, information cards, trifolds and other PDFs, use the complete URL including https:// or http://. The only exception to this rule is the URL for the Military OneSource website, which can be written in any of the following ways for printed or downloaded documents:

  • Uppercase and lowercase letters —
  • All lowercase letters —
  • Without www — or

For printed or downloaded documents, always hyperlink the URL so it can be used for both web and print purposes.

Do not spell out URLs in emails where the URLs will be hyperlinked. Hyperlink a word or phrase in the paragraph similar to content in Military OneSource articles, as the URL will display after the hyperlinked text once the email has been sent. For example: "Use Plan My Move to organize your next move" will appear as "Use Plan My Move to organize your next move" once the email has been sent.

U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, U.S. Coast Guard – Also Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Space Force or Coast Guard. Capitalize in all uses when referring to U.S. forces.

USTRANSCOM – Acceptable for second and subsequent references when referring to the U.S. Transportation Command for internal audiences within the DOD. For public-facing products and on MC&FP digital properties, refer to the Defense Personal Property Management Office or other appropriate specific resource. Do not use USTC in place of USTRANSCOM in client- and public-facing content.