Acronyms are shortened forms of phrases or words, usually created from their initial components. Acronyms have been used frequently by governmental agencies in reference to various departments, positions, projects, supplies, and equipment. They have also been common in industry and science. Well formed acronyms are also sought after by businesses, but can be created and used by anyone. With the advent of Internet chat and cellular text messaging, the use of acronyms has mushroomed to almost epidemic proportions, causing concerns over education and traffic safety. Somewhat ironically, at the time this article was written, the most popular acronym was LOL ( laugh out loud ).

It is important to remember that proper definitions for acronyms are based on their originating context and usage, not the literal meaning of the words that make them up. For example the acronym ELINT stands for Electronic Intelligence, but the definition for ELINT has nothing to do with the intelligence of electronics. Similarly the acronym RADAR stands for radio detection and ranging, but it has nothing to do with detecting radios. Of particular relevance to ufology is that the phrase "unidentified flying object" is far too simplistic and misleaading to qualify as an accurate definition for the word UFO. Official USAF definitions clearly explain that vague lights off in the distance that could be aircraft or other mundane objects should not be reported as UFOs. There is also overwhelming historical and contemporary evidence that the primary purpose of the word UFO is to convey the idea of an alien craft.

When reading about UFOs it is common to run across a variety of acronyms, many of which are governmental or military. The table below lists most of the official and unofficial acronyms associated with ufology. For more information on how the word UFO came into being and what it means, see the complete article on the word UFO.

Table of Acronyms:
AcronymLong Form
ACOMAlien COMmunications.
AFB Air Force Base.
AFOSRAir Force Office of Scientific Reasearch ( USAF )
APROAerial Phenomena Research Organization
ATECHAlien TECHnology.
ATIC Air Technical Intelligence Center ( USAF )
CAUS Citizens Against UFO Secrecy.
CIA Central Intelligence Agency.
COMINT COMmunications INTelligence.
COMSEC COMmunications SECurity.
CSICOP Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
CSS Central Security Service ( USA )
CUFOS Center for UFO Studies
DDO Deputy Director of Operations ( USA )
DDI Deputy Director of Information Systems Security ( USA )
DDT Deputy Director of Technology ( USA )
DIRNSA DIRector of the NSA and Chief of the CSS ( USA )
DoD Department of Defense.
EDH Extradimensional Hypothesis.
ELINT ELectronic INTelligence.
ELT Executive Leadership Team of the DIRNSA.
ETH ExtraTerrestrial Hypothesis or ExtraTemporal Hypothesis
FOIA Freedom Of Information Act ( USA )
FTD ForeignTechnology Division ( USA )
FTLFaster Than LLight
HPSCI House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ( USA )
ICBMInterContinental Ballistic Missile.
INFOSEC INFOrmation Systems SECurity.
IOBIntelligence Oversight Board of the the President ( USA )
JCSJoint Chiefs of Staff of the United States.
LASERLight Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
MEPPMathematics Education Partnership Program ( USA )
MIBMen In Black ( ufology )
NACANational Advisory Committee for Aeronautics ( USA )
NARANational Archives and Records Administration ( USA )
NASA National Aeronautics & Space Administration ( USA )
NRAONational Radio Astronomy Observatory ( USA )
NSANational Security Agency ( USA )
NSCNational Security Council ( USA )
NSCIDNational Security Council Intelligence Directive ( USA )
OMBOffice of Management and Budget of the President ( USA )
OPSECOPerations SECurity ( USA )
OSIOffice of Scientific Intelligence ( USA )
RADARRAdio Detection And Ranging
RAFRoyal Air Force ( UK )
RCAFRoyal Canadian Air Force
SDIStrategic Defense Initiative ( USA )
SECDEFSECretary of DEFense for the The United States.
SETISearch For ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence.
SIGINTSIGnals INTelligence.
SSCISenate Select Committee on Intelligence ( USA )
SSTSuperSonic Transport.
STTSecretTerrestrial Technology.
UAOUnidentifiedAerial Object.
UFOUnidentified Flying Object.
UFOBUnidentified Flying OBject.
USAUnited States Army or United States of America
USAAFUnited States Army Air Force.
USAFUnited States Air Force.
USGSUnited States Geological Survey
USIUfology Society International.
USMCUnited States Marines Corps.
USNUnited States Navy.
USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
VLA Very Large Array radio telescope ( USA )