Buzzword bingo

If you remember last year one of the Quill writers explored the world of military acronyms, or backronyms, and the daily bombardment we endure.

My mind was cast back to this blog as I sat in a conference and listened to speakers repeat the same buzzwords over and over again. I’m suggesting that at the next event we go to we create a new game, buzzword bingo!

I have one that is a particular pet hate of mine and I shall tell you for why…

Digital native. It makes me cringe every time I hear it, which is a lot. It basically means someone who was born after the rise of digital technology, I guess encompassing mainly millennials. If I have to hear one more industry bod or military fella use the term I may scream.

I think my main issue with it is that the person using the term generally treats it like some crazy new idea, OMG’ing that there are all these young people who can use a smart phone without throwing it against a wall (okay they probably wouldn’t say OMG out loud, that’s more a term for the digital natives).


Here are a few other buzzwords for which we try to find the proper meaning and/or have to find the appropriate synonym.

One that comes up, particularly in the helicopter industry, is ‘best-in-class’. In a race to the top can every contender claim to be better in every facet of rotary ability than its rivals? Unlikely. There is ranking in all things and some whirlybirds are going to have to settle for being most-okay-in-class.

Another that makes the cut is the ubiquitous warfighter. Everything is about the warfighter. What if the warfighter is a digital native? Well there is certainly technology out there for him/her. It’s basically a synonym for military personnel but it’s broad and doesn’t specify which service this person is in or more detail beyond that.

Others include size, weight and power (SWAP), big data, ruggedised, digitized, lethality, scalability, durability and modularity. All are used relentlessly in presentations, speeches and documents.

I suppose there is a limit to the English language though. We don’t want to compound an already confusing situation further by whacking out the thesaurus and using it for all it is worth.

Maybe next time you are sat in the surest expectation in hearing a few of these words you could join me in a game of our new buzzword bingo? Then we might be treated to a presentation from the best-in-class digital native warfighter talking about the capability of…

You get the idea.



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