Use of Terms A - Z

Answer your editorial questions through this list of commonly used terms. You will find everything from definitions to using hyphens.

Visual Style Guides

Build a cohesive brand by using consistent colors, fonts, and correct logo placement.

Program Content Guides

Make sure you have this program-specific context and accurate terminology when writing for a specific MC&FP program.


Download the logos for MC&FP and related programs.



Editorial Style Update – When referring to the Military OneSource website and not the program, use the URL and the term "site" or "website" when appropriate to do so. There are several acceptable ways to write the website address for printed or downloadable documents. These include:

MC&FP Editorial Style Update

Numbers and Dates – See the additional guidelines below for proper use of numbers and dates in content for Military Community and Family Policy:

  • Include the year in the date if it will help the reader in any way or if the event spans more than one calendar year.  
  • When it is clear that an upcoming event does not extend into the following calendar year, do not include the year.

“The Military Community and Family Policy applications will be undergoing maintenance from 9 a.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 9 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10.“

“The event runs from March 15-July 15 or March 15 to July 15;” or, “The event runs from Feb. 10-20.”

“Learn about virtual careers at MSEP partner VAUSA at 1 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 7.”

  • Once you introduce the year and the time period is clear, do not repeat the year within the same document.

“The 2021 Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign is designed to promote the idea that preventing domestic abuse is a shared community responsibility that starts with a message of support for victims. The campaign runs from Oct. 1-31.”

New Accessibility Courses

MilLife Learning offers the Creating Accessibility Series of three courses to help third-party content creators and Military Community and Family Policy staff produce PDFs, PowerPoints and videos to meet Section 508 accessibility standards.

Editorial Style Update

guardian — An individual who serves in the U.S. Space Force is a guardian. The plural form is guardians. Lowercase in all uses.

Editorial Style Update

Department of Defense — “U.S. Department of Defense” and “Department of Defense” refer to the proper name and legal entity of this cabinet-level government department. Reserve these for use in formal and official correspondence, documents, reports and testimony. In all other cases, use “Defense Department” on first reference.

The correct acronym for “Defense Department” is “DOD” with an uppercase “O” in the center; use on second reference after “Defense Department” or when the stand-alone acronym suffices depending upon use. Do NOT use “DoD.”

Editorial Style Update

first lady – Capitalize as a formal title before a name. Lowercase in other uses. With regard to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, use her academic title, Dr., as opposed to Ms. or Mrs.

secretary of defense – Capitalize as a formal title before a name. Lowercase in other uses. With regard to the secretary of defense under President Biden, always use Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. Do not use Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III.

Editorial Style Update

Contractors are required to adhere to all Department of Defense policies, instructions and guidance surrounding military service uniforms and personal appearance regulations. This guide provides standard sources containing up-to-date information. Download Military Service Uniform Guidance

Editorial Style Update

Use “flyer” versus “flier” for those who fly and for handbills: She is a frequent flyer; the flyers showcase installation events. Use flier in “take a flier,” which means to take a big risk. For more style guidance, see our style guide or the AP Stylebook.

Editorial Style Update

Use the percent symbol – % – when pairing with numerals instead of spelling out “percent.” For more style guidance, see our style guide or the AP Stylebook.

MC&FP Editorial Style Update

Abbreviation/acronyms are acceptable on second reference. Spell out Exceptional Family Member Program on first reference, for example. For all other references, use EFMP.

MC&FP Editorial Style Update

Use “free” when the target audience is the military community (service members and family members) but use “no cost” when the audience is leadership. The only exception to the rule is for Facebook: Due to its algorithms, use either “no cost” or use a variation of “take advantage of your benefit.”

MC&FP Editorial Style Update

Do not use “please” in article content, social media or collateral material. The MC&FP Outreach team will have to clear any exceptions to the rule.