Project Names and Code Words were used by military dma Zip Code List intelligence organizations around the world for many years. They came into their own during World War I, and were virtually everywhere in World War II. The Cold War left a legacy of secrecy and a huge bureaucracy, that contributed a lot to the prevalence of Code Words and classifications, a bureaucracy which continues to dominate the US intelligence community and military to this day. There are several different types of Names used in the US military, mostly for the purpose of designation but some simply for concealment.
Most of those Names are public but deal with or describe secret things, but some Names or Code Words are actually secret by themselves. Of those, “Code Words” are classified, but only while they are “Active” or “Cancelled”. NATO Reporting Names” and “Call Signs” are sometimes also classified, but not always. A list of all US DoD “Code Words”, “Nicknames”, and “Exercise Terms”, as well as US and Allied “Call Signs”, their meaning, and rules and regulations on how to assign and use them, can be found in the following documents. For additional details see also “CJCSM 3150.
Those documents describe how Nicknames and Code Words are assigned, and which Code Words, Nicknames, Call Signs, Exercise Terms, and alphabetical blocks for Nicknames, have been assigned to which agency. Code Word is assigned and the old Code Word is CANCELLED. Code Words are also cancelled, if the project, program, operation, or mission they were assigned to, was either completed or disbanded. It may even be beneficial to re-use previously cancelled Code Words for the very same reason, as this “game” is all about deception. Code Words should not describe or suggest the nature of what is classified. Follow-on projects or phases of a program must receive different Code Words. Code Words can be assigned to virtually everything that might be classified, including Programs, Projects, Geographical Areas or Locations, Operations, Objectives, Missions, Plans, Tasks, Information types, etc.
Code Word assigned to them, but this is optional. DoD directives for assignments of Code Words. Any and all Code Words that are used must be registered, to prevent double assignments or confusion. Even the individual systems and missions, like a particular satellite or launch, or a particular reconnaissance mission or flight, receive one or more numerical Codes. Those numerical codes are not covered in this article, though. Nicknames should not contain the words “Project”, “Operation”, “Exercise”, or consist of two separate words that also exist as a single word, like “Moon Light”. Sometimes, three words are used, and the first or second word is sometimes an acronym.
In case of such multi-phase programs, the first, original project often receives a Roman Numerical “I” suffix, even if it originally did not have that extra “I” assigned to it. Nicknames are most often printed using all capital letters, but this does not seem to be a fixed rule. Nicknames should not be “exotic words, trite expressions, or well-known commercial trademarks”. They should also “not express a bias inconsistent with traditional American ideals or foreign policy. All departments and agencies usually place additional restrictions on the assignment of Nicknames, such as that they should not contain words that are “close in spelling or pronunciation to a code word” or “any two-word combination voice call sign found in either JANAP-119 or ACP-119.