tend to use code-names such as SENIOR CITIZEN or MERIDIAN
without understanding how these are assigned. I've done
some research on this and here's what I've found. (Please
note that this information refers to how the Department of
Defense does things. It does not include how code-names
are assigned by the Department of Energy or the CIA.) One
source that's reasonably available is Title 32, Code
of Federal Regulations, Appendix C (to Section 159a).
Based on that source and others, I've found that they
are assigned by the joint Chiefs of Staff. There are
actually 3 types of code-names, which are:
(1) Classified single word codewords. I had wondered why
the Air Force replaced some codewords with euphemisms like
"advanced program evaluation".
Here's some examples of what I mean:
Old name -----> New name (same PE #)
________ ________ ___________
CENTENNIAL "applied technology and integration" 0305142F
OMEGA "advanced program evaluation" 0207591F
BERNIE "combined advanced applications" 0305172F
This has occurred with current programs, but the older
historical codewords haven't yet been revised.
Apparently, the Air Force has screwed up for a few years
and mistakenly listed single word codewords in budget
documents. That means that the following codewords I've
found in USAF budget documents since 1980 are quite
* AURORA (this was definitely a slip up! Classified
funding for the B-2, no Program Element number listed)
* OMEGA (PE 0207591F -- some kind of tactical program,
possibly an aircraft).
* CENTENNIAL (PE 0305142F -- intelligence program)
* CAVALRY (PE 0305185F -- intelligence program)
* GENTRY (PE 0101816F -- the 0101xxxF program number puts
it in the category of offensive strategic programs. (Ah,
the nuclear glory days of a decade ago...))
* LEO (PE 0102822F -- Reagan-era strategic intelligence
program for the nuclear war planners)
* MERIDIAN (PE 0603105F -- strategic nuclear program)
* OLYMPIC (PE 0603111F -- another nuclear program)
* BERNIE (PE 0305172F -- yet another intelligence program)
None of the codewords I mentioned are abbreviations,
i.e., the LEO program is not "Low Earth Orbit".
Also, I'm aware that NSA uses 5-letter codewords for
sensitive SIGINT programs, such as DINAR. Another example
of a leak involving a codeword is when the Navy released
some material to me that indicated they had censored data
on a project with the codeword INFRARED (part of the new
ship self defense program).
(2) Unclassified 2 word nicknames, such as SENIOR TREND
or COPPER CANYON (a USAF hypersonic research program). Of
particular interest is the following (found in the
reference listed above):
A combination of two separate words, which is
assigned an unclassified meaning and is employed only
for unclassified administrative, morale, or public
information purposes...A nickname is not designed to
achieve a security objective.
(3) Exercise terms, such as "Red Flag" used for
training at Nellis AFB. None of these are single word
The guide lines for choosing 2 word nicknames, such as
SENIOR RUBY (a U-2 SIGINT program) are interesting --
among the words of wisdom are:
A nickname must be chosen with sufficient care to
ensure that it does not:
(a) Express a degree of bellicosity inconsistent with
traditional American ideals or current foreign policy.
(b) Convey connotations offensive to good taste or
derogatory to a particular group, sect, or creed.
(c) Convey connotations offensive to our allies or other
Free World nations.
So, I guess MAGNUM DEATH, HAVE PENIS, and SUSHI SUPRISE
On another subject - as far as Groom Lake goes --
here's something to ponder: We know that Groom was used
for the U-2 in the 1950s, the SR-71 in the early 1960s,
and various Stealth stuff in the late 1970s and early
1980s. What was Groom used for in the late 1960s and early
1970s? In some research I've been doing with Department of
Energy material, I'm picking up hints that Groom Lake was
used for unknown classified experiments conducted by Los
Alamos National Laboratory, during that period. This is
interesting, because LANL doesn't do much with nuclear
weapons design (which is usually handled by Sandia
National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National