The U.S. Navy has issued updated instructions on the use of nicknames to refer to Navy activities, events and other information.
“A nickname is a combination of two separate unclassified words, assigned an unclassified meaning that is employed for unclassified, administrative, morale, or public information purposes. Nicknames may be assigned to actual, real-world events, projects, movement of forces, or other non-exercise activities,” the new policy states.
“Nicknames should not be confused with code words. A code word is a single word assigned a classified meaning by appropriate authority to ensure proper security concerning intentions and to safeguard information pertaining to actual, real-world military plans or operations classified as CONFIDENTIAL or higher once activated.”
The choice of nicknames should not “express a degree of aggression inconsistent with traditional American ideals or current foreign policy.” Nor should it “convey anything offensive to good taste or derogatory to a particular group, sect, or creed.”
See “Code Word, Nicknames, and Exercise Terminology System” (pdf), OPNAVINST 5511.37D, January 30, 2007.
A dictionary of thousands of code words, nicknames and related terms was compiled by Bill Arkin in Code Names, published in 2005.