Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Official Unofficial Acronym Chart 2.0

So about two months ago, I attempted to smooth out some of the Foreign Service's clunky acronyms by translating them into meaningful terms.

Since then, I realized a few typos, a few errors and a few omissions that needed to be added.

Before looking over the changes, let me explain my problems with the acronyms.

First, some of them are just nonsensical. I've already bemoaned the use of UAB and HHE as terms to denote two shipments of our things to post. Yes, I get it that it does make a difference what you send UAB and what you send HHE because of weight restrictions and when things arrive. But my complaint is that these terms seem arbitrary. Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB)? Isn't everything I receive at post after I get there unaccompanied? Househould Effects (HHE)? Aren't all of my possessions household effects? Hence my recommendation they just call them First Shipment and Second Shipment. At least that implies some semblance of approximate arrival time.

Secondly, despite what A Daring Adventurer might think, I tried to simplify these acronyms down to the nitty gritty. (ADA, thanks, as always, for the link.) In other words, while FSI stands for the Foreign Service Institute, what does the institute do for foreign service families. So instead of trying to remember what the institute provides, I figured I cut to the chase and oversimplify it in three or so words.

Finally, my last complaint about acronyms is that some oversimplify in three or so words. I rail against Eligible Family Member because it attempts to group all of us into a pretty little package. I like individualism too much to be fine with EFM.

So, without further ado, here is the newer, longer, (more offensive?) version of the Official Unofficial Chart of Foreign Service Acronyms. Version 2.0.


  1. You are, without a doubt, the crowed King... the Potentate Resplendent... the Almighty Emperor... of everything acronym, starting with the clever usage in your blog's title all the way down to each one on your list!

  2. Hysterical! I have linked to your post here:

  3. It's Friday, and that means that the Sixth Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up - and you're on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


  4. Just a note to let you know I linked to you today...thanks!

  5. Very funny list! Oh so true too...