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Military Terms and Definitions

wading crossing — See deep fording capability; shallow fording.

walking patient — A patient whose injuries and/or illness are relatively minor, permitting
the patient to walk and not require a litter. See also litter; patient; slightly wounded.
(JP 4-02)

wanted cargo — (*) In naval control of shipping, a cargo which is not immediately
required by the consignee country but will be needed later.

warble — (*) In naval mine warfare, the process of varying the frequency of sound
produced by a narrow band noisemaker to ensure that the frequency to which the mine
will respond is covered.

warden system — An informal method of communication used to pass information to US
citizens during emergencies. See also noncombatant evacuation operations.
(JP 3-68)

war game — A simulation, by whatever means, of a military operation involving two or
more opposing forces using rules, data, and procedures designed to depict an actual or
assumed real life situation.

warhead — That part of a missile, projectile, torpedo, rocket, or other munition which
contains either the nuclear or thermonuclear system, high explosive system, chemical
or biological agents, or inert materials intended to inflict damage.

warhead mating — The act of attaching a warhead section to a rocket or missile body,
torpedo, airframe, motor, or guidance section.

warhead section — (*) A completely assembled warhead, including appropriate skin
sections and related components.

war materiel procurement capability — The quantity of an item that can be acquired by
orders placed on or after the day an operation commences (D-day) from industry or
from any other available source during the period prescribed for war materiel
procurement planning purposes.

war materiel requirement — The quantity of an item required to equip and support the
approved forces specified in the current Secretary of Defense guidance through the
period prescribed for war materiel planning purposes.

warned exposed — (*) The vulnerability of friendly forces to nuclear weapon effects. In
this condition, personnel are assumed to be prone with all skin covered and with
thermal protection at least that provided by a two-layer summer uniform. See also
unwarned exposed; warned protected.

warned protected — (*) The vulnerability of friendly forces to nuclear weapon effects. In
this condition, personnel are assumed to have some protection against heat, blast, and
radiation such as that afforded in closed armored vehicles or crouched in fox holes with
improvised overhead shielding. See also unwarned exposed; warned exposed.

warning — 1. A communication and acknowledgment of dangers implicit in a wide
spectrum of activities by potential opponents ranging from routine defense measures to
substantial increases in readiness and force preparedness and to acts of terrorism or
political, economic, or military provocation. 2. Operating procedures, practices, or
conditions that may result in injury or death if not carefully observed or followed.
(JP 3-04)

warning area — See danger area.

warning net — A communication system established for the purpose of disseminating
warning information of enemy movement or action to all interested commands.

warning of attack — A warning to national policymakers that an adversary is not only
preparing its armed forces for war, but intends to launch an attack in the near future.
See also tactical warning; warning; warning of war.

warning of war — A warning to national policymakers that a state or alliance intends war,
or is on a course that substantially increases the risks of war and is taking steps to
prepare for war. See also strategic warning; warning; warning of attack.

warning order — (*) 1. A preliminary notice of an order or action that is to follow. 2.
(DOD only) A planning directive that initiates the development and evaluation of
military courses of action by a supported commander and requests that the supported
commander submit a commander’s estimate. 3. (DOD only) A planning directive that
describes the situation, allocates forces and resources, establishes command
relationships, provides other initial planning guidance, and initiates subordinate unit
mission planning. Also called WARNORD. (JP 3-33)

warning red — See air defense warning conditions.

warning shots — The firing of shots or delivery of ordnance by personnel or weapons
systems in the vicinity of a person, vessel, or aircraft as a signal to immediately cease
activity. Warning shots are one measure to convince a potentially hostile force to
withdraw or cease its threatening actions.

warning white — See air defense warning conditions.

warning yellow — See air defense warning conditions.

warp — To haul a ship ahead by line or anchor. (JP 4-01.6)

war reserve materiel requirement — That portion of the war materiel requirement
required to be on hand on D-day. This level consists of the war materiel requirement
less the sum of the peacetime assets assumed to be available on D-day and the war
materiel procurement capability.

war reserve materiel requirement, balance — That portion of the war reserve materiel
requirement that has not been acquired or funded. This level consists of the war reserve
materiel requirement less the war reserve materiel requirement, protectable.

war reserve materiel requirement, protectable — That portion of the war reserve
materiel requirement that is either on hand and/or previously funded that shall be
protected; if issued for peacetime use, it shall be promptly reconstituted. This level
consists of the pre-positioned war reserve materiel requirement, protectable, and the
other war reserve materiel requirement, protectable.

war reserve (nuclear) — Nuclear weapons materiel stockpiled in the custody of the
Department of Energy or transferred to the custody of the Department of Defense and
intended for employment in the event of war.

war reserves — (*) Stocks of materiel amassed in peacetime to meet the increase in
military requirements consequent upon an outbreak of war. War reserves are intended
to provide the interim support essential to sustain operations until resupply can be

war reserve stock — That portion of total materiel assets designated to satisfy the war
reserve materiel requirement. Also called WRS. See also reserve; war reserve
materiel requirement; war reserves. (JP 2-03)

war reserve stocks for allies — A Department of Defense program to have the Services
procure or retain in their inventories those minimum stockpiles of materiel such as
munitions, equipment, and combat-essential consumables to ensure support for selected
allied forces in time of war until future in-country production and external resupply can
meet the estimated combat consumption.

wartime load — The maximum quantity of supplies of all kinds which a ship can carry.
The composition of the load is prescribed by proper authority.

wartime manpower planning system — A standardized Department of Defense
(DOD)-wide procedure, structure, and database for computing, compiling, projecting,
and portraying the time-phased wartime manpower requirements, demand, and supply
of the DOD components. Also called WARMAPS. See also S-day.

wartime reserve modes — Characteristics and operating procedures of sensor,
communications, navigation aids, threat recognition, weapons, and countermeasures
systems that will contribute to military effectiveness if unknown to or misunderstood
by opposing commanders before they are used, but could be exploited or neutralized if
known in advance. Wartime reserve modes are deliberately held in reserve for wartime
or emergency use and seldom, if ever, applied or intercepted prior to such use. Also
called WARM.

Washington Liaison Group — An interagency committee and/or joint monitoring body,
chaired by the Department of State with representation from the Department of
Defense, established to coordinate the preparation and implementation of plans for
evacuation of United States citizens abroad in emergencies. Also called WLG.
(JP 3-68)

watching mine — (*) In naval mine warfare, a mine secured to its mooring but showing on
the surface, possibly only in certain tidal conditions. See also floating mine; mine.

watercraft — Any vessel or craft designed specifically and only for movement on the
surface of the water. (JP 4-01.6)

waterspace management — The allocation of waterspace in terms of antisubmarine
warfare attack procedures to permit the rapid and effective engagement of hostile
submarines while preventing inadvertent attacks on friendly submarines. Also called
WSM. (JP 3-32 CH1)

water terminal — A facility for berthing ships simultaneously at piers, quays, and/or
working anchorages, normally located within sheltered coastal waters adjacent to rail,
highway, air, and/or inland water transportation networks. (JP 4-01.5)

wave — (*) 1. A formation of forces, landing ships, craft, amphibious vehicles or aircraft,
required to beach or land about the same time. Can be classified as to type, function or
order as shown: a. assault wave; b. boat wave; c. helicopter wave; d. numbered
wave; e. on-call wave; f. scheduled wave. 2. (DOD only) An undulation of water
caused by the progressive movement of energy from point to point along the surface of
the water. (JP 4-01.6)

wave crest — The highest part of a wave. See also crest; wave. (JP 4-01.6)

wave height — The vertical distance between trough and crest, usually expressed in feet.
See also wave. (JP 4-01.6)

wave length — The horizontal distance between successive wave crests measured
perpendicular to the crest, usually expressed in feet. See also crest; wave; wave crest.
(JP 4-01.6)

wave period — The time it takes for two successive wave crests to pass a given point. See
also wave; wave crest. (JP 4-01.6)

wave trough — The lowest part of the wave between crests. See also crest; wave.
(JP 4-01.6)

wave velocity — The speed at which a wave form advances across the sea, usually
expressed in knots. See also wave. (JP 4-01.6)

way point — 1. In air operations, a point or a series of points in space to which an aircraft,
ship, or cruise missile may be vectored. 2. A designated point or series of points loaded
and stored in a global positioning system or other electronic navigational aid system to
facilitate movement.

W-day — See times.

weapon and payload identification — 1. The determination of the type of weapon being
used in an attack. 2. The discrimination of a re-entry vehicle from penetration aids
being utilized with the re-entry vehicle. See also attack assessment.

weapon debris (nuclear) — The residue of a nuclear weapon after it has exploded; that is,
materials used for the casing and other components of the weapon, plus unexpended
plutonium or uranium, together with fission products.

weaponeering — The process of determining the quantity of a specific type of lethal or
nonlethal weapons required to achieve a specific level of damage to a given target,
considering target vulnerability, weapons characteristics and effects, and delivery
parameters. (JP 3-60)

weapon engagement zone — In air defense, airspace of defined dimensions within which
the responsibility for engagement of air threats normally rests with a particular weapon
system. Also called WEZ. a. fighter engagement zone. In air defense, that airspace
of defined dimensions within which the responsibility for engagement of air threats
normally rests with fighter aircraft. Also called FEZ. b. high-altitude missile
engagement zone. In air defense, that airspace of defined dimensions within which the
responsibility for engagement of air threats normally rests with high-altitude surface-toair
missiles. Also called HIMEZ. c. low-altitude missile engagement zone. In air
defense, that airspace of defined dimensions within which the responsibility for
engagement of air threats normally rests with low- to medium-altitude surface-to-air
missiles. Also called LOMEZ. d. short-range air defense engagement zone. In air
defense, that airspace of defined dimensions within which the responsibility for
engagement of air threats normally rests with short-range air defense weapons. It may
be established within a low- or high-altitude missile engagement zone. Also called
SHORADEZ. e. joint engagement zone. In air defense, that airspace of defined
dimensions within which multiple air defense systems (surface-to-air missiles and
aircraft) are simultaneously employed to engage air threats. Also called JEZ. (JP 3-52)

weapons assignment — (*) In air defense, the process by which weapons are assigned to
individual air weapons controllers for use in accomplishing an assigned mission.

weapons free zone — An air defense zone established for the protection of key assets or
facilities, other than air bases, where weapon systems may be fired at any target not
positively recognized as friendly. (JP 3-52)

weapons of mass destruction — Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction
and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons
of mass destruction can be high-yield explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, or
radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or propelling the weapon
where such means is a separable and divisible part of the weapon. Also called WMD.
See also destruction; special operations. (JP 3-28)

weapons of mass destruction - civil support team — Joint National Guard (Army
National Guard and Air National Guard) team established to deploy rapidly to assist a
local incident commander in determining the nature and extent of a weapons of mass
destruction attack or incident; provide expert technical advice on weapons of mass
destruction response operations; and help identify and support the arrival of follow-on
state and federal military response assets. Also called WMD-CST. (JP 3-28)

weapons readiness state — The degree of readiness of air defense weapons which can
become airborne or be launched to carry out an assigned task. Weapons readiness
states are expressed in numbers of weapons and numbers of minutes. Weapon
readiness states are defined as follows: a. 2 minutes — Weapons can be launched
within two minutes. b. 5 minutes — Weapons can be launched within five minutes.
c. 15 minutes — Weapons can be launched within fifteen minutes. d. 30 minutes —
Weapons can be launched within thirty minutes. e. 1 hour — Weapons can be
launched within one hour. f. 3 hours — Weapons can be launched within three hours.
g. released — Weapons are released from defense commitment for a specified period
of time.

weapons recommendation sheet — (*) A sheet or chart which defines the intention of the
attack, and recommends the nature of weapons, and resulting damage expected,
tonnage, fuzing, spacing, desired mean points of impact, and intervals of reattack.

weapons state of readiness — See weapons readiness state.

weapon(s) system — (*) A combination of one or more weapons with all related
equipment, materials, services, personnel, and means of delivery and deployment (if
applicable) required for self-sufficiency.

weapon system employment concept — (*) A description in broad terms, based on
established outline characteristics, of the application of a particular equipment or
weapon system within the framework of tactical concept and future doctrines.

weapon system video — 1. Imagery recorded by video camera systems aboard aircraft or
ship that shows delivery and impact of air-to-ground, or surface-to-air ordnance and
air-to-air engagements. 2. A term used to describe the overarching program or process
of capturing, clipping, digitizing, editing, and transmitting heads-up display or multifunction
display imagery. 3. A term used to refer to actual equipment used by various
career fields to perform all or part of the weapon system video process. Also called
WSV. (JP 3-30)

weapon-target line — An imaginary straight line from a weapon to a target.

weather deck — A deck having no overhead protection; uppermost deck. (JP 4-01.6)
weather minimum — The worst weather conditions under which aviation operations may
be conducted under either visual or instrument flight rules. Usually prescribed by
directives and standing operating procedures in terms of minimum ceiling, visibility, or
specific hazards to flight.

weight and balance sheet — (*) A sheet which records the distribution of weight in an
aircraft and shows the center of gravity of an aircraft at takeoff and landing.

wellness — Force health protection program that consolidates and incorporates physical and
mental fitness, health promotion, and environmental and occupational health. See also
force health protection. (JP 4-02)

wharf — A structure built of open rather than solid construction along a shore or a bank that
provides cargo-handling facilities. A similar facility of solid construction is called a
quay. See also quay. (JP 4-01.5)

wheel load capacity — The capacity of airfield runways, taxiways, parking areas, or
roadways to bear the pressures exerted by aircraft or vehicles in a gross weight static

white cap — A small wave breaking offshore as a result of the action of strong winds. See
also wave. (JP 4-01.6)

whiteout — (*) Loss of orientation with respect to the horizon caused by sun reflecting on
snow and overcast sky.

white propaganda — Propaganda disseminated and acknowledged by the sponsor or by an
accredited agency thereof. See also propaganda.

Wilson cloud — See condensation cloud.

winch — A hoisting machine used for loading and discharging cargo and stores or for
hauling in lines. See also stores. (JP 4-01.6)

wind shear — A change of wind direction and magnitude.

wind velocity — (*) The horizontal direction and speed of air motion.

wing — 1. An Air Force unit composed normally of one primary mission group and the
necessary supporting organizations, i.e., organizations designed to render supply,
maintenance, hospitalization, and other services required by the primary mission
groups. Primary mission groups may be functional, such as combat, training, transport,
or service. 2. A fleet air wing is the basic organizational and administrative unit for
naval-, land-, and tender-based aviation. Such wings are mobile units to which are
assigned aircraft squadrons and tenders for administrative organization control. 3. A
balanced Marine Corps task organization of aircraft groups and squadrons, together
with appropriate command, air control, administrative, service, and maintenance units.
A standard Marine Corps aircraft wing contains the aviation elements normally
required for the air support of a Marine division. 4. A flank unit; that part of a military
force to the right or left of the main body.

wingman — An aviator subordinate to and in support of the designated section leader; also,
the aircraft flown in this role

withdrawal operation — A planned retrograde operation in which a force in contact
disengages from an enemy force and moves in a direction away from the enemy.

withhold (nuclear) — The limiting of authority to employ nuclear weapons by denying
their use within specified geographical areas or certain countries.

working anchorage — An anchorage where ships lie to discharge cargoes over-side to
coasters or lighters. See also emergency anchorage.

working capital fund — A revolving fund established to finance inventories of supplies
and other stores, or to provide working capital for industrial-type activities. (JP 1-06)

working group — An enduring or ad hoc organization within a joint force commander’s
headquarters formed around a specific function whose purpose is to provide analysis to
users. The working group consists of a core functional group and other staff and
component representatives. Also called WG. (JP 3-33)

work order — A specific or blanket authorization to perform certain work — usually
broader in scope than a job order. It is sometimes used synonymously with job order.
world geographic reference system — See georef.

Worldwide Port System — Automated information system to provide cargo management
and accountability to water port and regional commanders while providing in-transit
visibility to the Global Transportation Network. Also called WPS. See also Global
Transportation Network. (JP 4-01)

wounded — See seriously wounded; slightly wounded.

wounded in action — A casualty category applicable to a hostile casualty, other than the
victim of a terrorist activity, who has incurred an injury due to an external agent or
cause. The term encompasses all kinds of wounds and other injuries incurred in action,
whether there is a piercing of the body, as in a penetration or perforated wound, or
none, as in the contused wound. These include fractures, burns, blast concussions, all
effects of biological and chemical warfare agents, and the effects of an exposure to
ionizing radiation or any other destructive weapon or agent. The hostile casualty’s
status may be categorized as “very seriously ill or injured,” “seriously ill or injured,”
“incapacitating illness or injury,” or “not seriously injured.” Also called WIA. See
also casualty category.

wreckage locator chart — A chart indicating the geographic location of all known aircraft
wreckage sites and all known vessel wrecks that show above low water or can be seen
from the air. It consists of a visual plot of each wreckage, numbered in chronological
order, and cross referenced with a wreckage locator file containing all pertinent data
concerning the wreckage.



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