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 News Article

"CINC" Is Sunk

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2002 – The term "CINC" is sunk.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put out a memo Oct. 24 to DoD leaders saying there is only one commander in chief in America -- the president.

His memo also forbids use of the acronym "CINC" (pronounced "sink") with titles for military officers.

The title of commander in chief is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 2, states, "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."

Even before World War II, however, the title was applied to U.S. military officers, and over the years "commander in chief" came to refer to the commanders of the U.S. unified combatant commands. Their titles became, for instance, "Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command" or "Commander in Chief, U.S. Transportation Command."

No more. Rumsfeld has been using the term "combatant commander" for months now when referring to a regional organization such as the U.S. Central Command and "commander" when talking about a specified unit such as the U.S. Strategic Command.

But don't toss out that old stationery or signs. The memo also tells officials to use old stocks and replace signs only when done in regular maintenance. The changes should be done "without any undue additional cost to taxpayers."

The new term is simply "commander," as in "Commander, U.S. Northern Command" and "Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command."

The next hurdle is getting over the conversational habit of referring to "the CINCS."

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