Folk speech

What’s the BLUF?

Abstract:

This piece is about the BLUF acronym that is used in the military law career when giving information to commanders.

Main Piece:

I had a career in the military, in the Army as a lawyer, and one of the things in the Army is that there is not always a lot of time for like long explanations or details when you’re working with a commander and what they always say is “what’s the BLUF?” And BLUF is bottom line up front. So basically, you might want like as a lawyer three pages of analysis, but they’re like “give me the BLUF.” And that’s just like “okay. Yes you can do it and here’s why.” And you always have to put the BLUF at the beginning of any papers you write or any information you give.”

Context:

The informant has had a 25 year long career in the JAG branch of the Army and picked up this lingo as part of her job. She has worked under many commanders and used quick lingo such as BLUF in daily language at the offices. The subject has lived all over due to her military career, from Hawaii, Kansas, Virginia, and Germany. She is originally from Buffalo New York. She says she remembers this particular acronym and saying because it was used so often.

My Interpretation:

Growing up in a military family as well, I definitely see how this phrase/acronym could be used in daily language. My parents would speak in codes that seemed like a different language. Hearing one of the phrases explained is interesting for me, almost like learning a definition for a word you should know, but were always too afraid to ask because it seems like common knowledge. I think if you are around this kind of phrase everyday, then it is just common knowledge. For civilians, I never hear this phrase being used in the work environment.

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