Vocab for the New Military Spouse

November 19, 2022
Vocab for the New Military Spouse

When you gain the title of being a “Military Spouse,” there’s a lot more that comes with it than a wedding ring and dependent ID. Turns out, there’s a whole vocabulary that one needs to learn to keep up with the lingo bouncing off the buildings on base. To help you get caught up, here are some of the essential new words you’ll want to add to your newfound habitat.


BAH – Basic Allowance for Housing

BAS – Basic Allowance for Subsistence

Chit – A request or voucher

CO – Commanding Officer (keep it in mind whenever your SO talks about their CO)

COLA – Cost of Living Allowance

Commissary – It’s the food place! Families and military members can buy food here.

Post Exchange/Base Exchange – A mix of Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Lowes all in one.

Commission – Officers are given rank and authority through written orders, also known as commissions.

CONUS – Continental United States

DEERS – Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (a system that determines eligibility for TRICARE)

DFAS – Defense Financing & Accounting Service (your paycheck processors)

DOD – Department of Defense

EM – Enlisted Member

FCP – Family Care Program

FSSA – Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance

HHG – Household Goods

Leave – Service members earn 2.5 days of paid vacation days per month

OCONUS – Outside the Continental United States

PCS – Permanent Change of Station (moving)

TSP – Thrift Savings Plan

VA – Department of Veteran Affairs

Feel prepared? Let us know if this helps and for those military spouse veterans, let us know if there is other lingo that newbies need to know about!

*List courtesy of Samantha Reeves, www.veteransunited.com

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