Please stop using DoD to refer to the U.S. Department of Defense. DOD is part of their brand.

Use of Name

"U.S. Department of Defense" and "Department of Defense" refer to the proper name and legal entity of this cabinet-level government department. Reserve these for use in formal and official correspondence, documents, reports and testimony.

In all other cases, use "Defense Department" on first reference.

The correct acronym for "Defense Department" is "DOD" with a capitalized "O" in the center; use on second reference after "Defense Department" or when the stand-alone acronym suffices depending upon use. Do NOT use "DoD."

Interestingly, the U.S. Government Publishing Office Style Manual (GPO) 2016 uses the following:

  • DOC—Department of Commerce
  • DoD—Department of Defense
  • DOE—Department of Energy
  • DOI—Department of the Interior
  • DOJ—Department of Justice
  • DOL—Department of Labor
  • DoS—Department of State
  • DOT—Department of Transportation

But congress.gov uses DOD in legislation printed by the GPO:

  • H.R.185 - Veterans Affairs Transfer of Information and Sharing of Disability Examination Procedures With DOD Doctors Act
  • H.R.2005 - DOD Entrepreneurial Innovation Act

Note that, like the Defense Department, the U.S. Department of State also has a Brand System, but that site is not yet complete.

  • 2
    Isn't DoD commonly used as well? For example in this manual for written material, also by DoD [sic]. Maybe this rebrand is more recent, the document I'm referring to is dated March 2004.
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 19, 2021 at 14:34
  • @JJJ - Maybe it's recent. but DOD now says use this to identify the organization.
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 19, 2021 at 18:22
  • 3
    Yea, I get where you're coming from but I'm not sure to what extent we should keep up to date with these rebrands. For example, do you propose editing new posts when they use the old style? What about existing posts? Isn't it a bit like US vs British English? Both are commonly used (and some style guides prescribe one over the other) but it's SE policy not to enforce style so strictly except in tags.
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 19, 2021 at 18:36
  • 1
    In the end context will let people know what is being talked about regardless of it being DoD or DOD or even dod.
    – Joe W
    Sep 19, 2021 at 19:06
  • 1
    @JJJ - The quoted text in politics.stackexchange.com/revisions/68855/2 was changed from DOD to DoD. That should not have happened, but note that the title of the article used DoD and the text used DOD twice. My point is that one should not be changed to the other and users should prefer DOD, hence the "Please". Recall politics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3924/26455 concerning capitalization of president. Some edits were made. They should not be made regarding DOD.
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 19, 2021 at 19:16
  • @RickSmith the purpose of that edit was since the quoted text used DoD, I wanted it to be consistent. Sep 19, 2021 at 19:41
  • 3
    @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica that article uses DOD in the body, but DoD in the title. Please double check before changing quotes, it's very unlikely someone would copy paste and then change a minor detail like that.
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 19, 2021 at 20:47
  • 2
    @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica - There is and has been a lot of inconsistency in Politics SE regarding DoD versus DOD. There are 60 posts on this site containing a mix of both, including an earlier one that used both in the same answer. Respectfully, there was no need to change the quote, but when doing so, it is common practice to enclose the change in square brackets to show that the text was altered.
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 19, 2021 at 20:58
  • @JoeW - "dod" will be changed if the question is edited, and may actually trigger an edit. It will be changed to one or the other depending on the editor.
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 19, 2021 at 21:27
  • My point was it would still be understandable what was being talked about, not if someone would change it.
    – Joe W
    Sep 19, 2021 at 21:38
  • 1
    @JJJ and #RickSmith my bad, I’ve undone the quote edit I did earlier (but left the note in there). Sep 19, 2021 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


The brand guide does not have any particular authority for Stack Exchange contributors, any more than a company's brand guide does. Branding guidelines are supposed to govern how people associated with a brand (employees, partners, and so on) present the brand to outside parties. They have no bearing on how other people refer to the brand. For example, if Microsoft's branding guidelines say not to refer to the company as MS, that doesn't stop anyone from referring to the company as MS in a Stack Exchange post.

From the DoD's branding guidelines:

The purpose of this guide is to ensure that no matter how people engage with the DOD – on the website, via email or U.S. mail, through social media, livestream broadcasts or photographs – they are left with an impression that accurately reflects the department’s brand identity and mission.

Readers of this site are not engaging with the Defense Department. Contributors to this site have no responsibility to reflect the department's preferred brand identity.

The department shares the DOD story daily through official statements and a variety of informational products, engaging with many audiences around the world.

Contributors to this site are not sharing the department's story, making official department statements, nor creating informational products on the department's behalf.

  • Having a preference for DOD over DoD is a matter respect -- same for Microsoft over MS. They is not a third-person singular pronoun, but is used out of respect. I didn't ask for any more than that. Simply respect their choice.
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 23, 2021 at 14:20
  • 3
    @RickSmith - I don't think that using an abbreviation for a company rises to nearly the same level of disrespect as misgendering someone. A brand guide is meant to ensure coherent brand identity for organizational recognition purposes, not ensure that a company's preferred name is respected by the public, as clear in the document that you linked. I doubt that the New York Times brand guide says that it's acceptable to call it the Gray Lady in stories or letterhead, and I equally doubt that it's emotionally hurtful to almost anyone at the paper that people outside the company employ the term.
    – Obie 2.0
    Sep 26, 2021 at 0:50

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