Jack Ryan Helps Us Decode CIA Jargons

Author : Jeet Jobanputra

Amazon Prime Original’s latest show ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ is out on Prime Video and has been loved by viewers and being appreciated by critics and influencers too! It is the story of the analyst as he uncovers a series of suspicious transactions that take him and his boss James Greer out from behind their desks into the field to hunt down a powerful new threat to the world.

Read our review here:

The show and its dialogues are full of references to CIA jargon which blew our mind and baffled us to. It had us constantly googling the lingo so that we could catch up with this fast-paced series. Turns out, showrunners, Cuse and Roland have inculcated the typical vocabulary of CIA Officers in the show after working very closely with them to keep the show authentic and real. So we did a little bit of homework to give you a quick round-up of the acronyms used in the Jack Ryan series to help you understand the plot better:

1. NCS – National Clandestine Service

The National Clandestine Service (NCS) is another branch of the CIA. It was created after 3 committees (i) The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (ii) the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and, later, (iii) the Iraq Intelligence Commission, under President George W. Bush, called for reform within US intelligence institutions. Support for such reform was strong in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and controversial disclosures about the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
2. SOG – Special Operations Group

The Special Operations Group (SOG) is a department that includes high-threat paramilitary or covert operations with which the US government does not wish to be overtly associated.

3. PAG – Political Action Group

The Political Action Group (PAG) is responsible for covert activities related to political influence, psychological operations, and economic warfare. The rapid development of technology has also added cyber warfare to their mission.

4. CTC – Counter Terrorism Center

Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) is a functional mission office within the CIA’s National Clandestine Service (NCS). If you missed it, In the pilot episode of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Jack enters the bullpen behind a door labelled, ‘CTC: Terror Finance and Arms Division.’

5. TFAD – Terror Finance and Arms Division

In Tom Clancy novels ‘The Hunt for Red October’ and ‘Patriot Games’ Vice Admiral, Greer was Deputy Director of the CIA, but in the Prime original series we meet Greer after he’s been demoted from an upper-level Station Chief post that he loved to the backwater post as Head of the Terror Finance and Arms Division (TFAD).

6. SIGINT – Signals Intelligence

Tarek Kassar, one of Jack Ryan’s fellow analysts says he’s working on tracking sig-int. According to the CIA website, SIGINT is the collection and exploitation of signals transmitted from communication systems, radars, and weapon systems.

Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) are of two kinds namely communications between people i.e. Communications Intelligence (COMINT) and/or gathering information from electronic signals which is not directly used in communication viz. Electronic Intelligence (ELINT).

7. SQL – Structured Query Language

When Jack mentions that he’s written a custom SQL to bridge the gap between two databases, he’s referring to Structured Query Language.

SQL is a domain-specific language used in programming and designed to manage data held in a relational database management system, or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system.

8. PNG – Persona Non-Grata

PNG is an acronym for the Latin phrase ‘persona non grata.’ If Greer was ‘PNG’d back’ to the United States, it means he was suddenly deemed unwelcome in Karachi.

9. PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

In the pilot episode of the Jack Ryan TV series, it’s clear that Jack is grappling with intrusive memories and traumatic flashbacks, both key symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The metronome next to Jack’s bed may be part of an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy regimen that Jack is trying out in order to combat his PTSD.

10. NSA – National Security Agency

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as Signals Intelligence (SIGINT).

11. FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, and its principal federal law enforcement agency.

12. NGA – National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is both a combat support agency under the United States Department of Defense and an intelligence agency of the United States Intelligence Community, with the primary mission of collecting, analyzing, and distributing Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) in support of national security.

The CIA works closely with the NSA, FBI, and NGA which allows them to work seamlessly, covering the whole world in a way that acknowledges the interconnectedness of a myriad of security and defense issues.

13. RPGs – Rocket-Propelled Grenades

In the first episode of Jack Ryan, the Cobalt black site is overwhelmed in part by the strategic use of so-called stove pipe rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The RPG is Russian in origin. Also known as a Ruchnoy Protivotankoviy Granatomyot, it was designed by the Soviet Union in the 1940s as an anti-tank weapon that would improve on the performance of the American Bazooka and the German-designed Panzer Faust. RPGs can be fired from a shoulder-mounted position and have been used in global armed conflict since World War II.

Last but not the least, the CIA – Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian Foreign Intelligence Service of the Federal Government of the United States, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing National Security Information from around the world, primarily through the use of Human Intelligence (HUMINT).

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