It’s a Question of Gender!

Unmanned is now Uncrewed

By Lieutenant Colonel

By Lt Col



, GE


Joint Air Power Competence Centre

 August 2022

‘Gender-inclusive language is about writing and speaking in a way that does not discriminate or marginalize on the basis of gender and does not promote or perpetuate gender stereotypes. Therefore, using gender-inclusive language proactively and consistently is imperative for furthering gender equality in the workplace and for creating an inclusive working environment for all staff members.’

NATO Gender-Inclusive Language Manual, April 2020.1

Gender equality and equity in language has been widely discussed for many years and has already found its way into many areas of everyday language use. As a result, some civil and military aviation terminology has also changed – mostly unnoticed.

NOTAM. In December 2021, the FAA quietly modified the acronym NOTAM from ‘Notice to Airmen’ to the more applicable term ‘Notice to Air Missions’. According to the FAA’s statement, this has been done to comply with ICAO standards and contractions.2

UAS. Many larger companies have already changed their terminology from ‘unmanned’ to ‘uncrewed’. AUVSI – the leading trade association for autonomy, robotics, and automated air, ground, and maritime vehicle industries – just rebranded itself last month as the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International. The FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee has also been pushing for the utilization of gender-neutral language, and we are likely to see a change in terms soon. Also noteworthy is the fact that the term ‘uncrewed’ has already been adopted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States, as well as the Canadian Department of National Defence, United Nations, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and the Australian Association for Uncrewed Systems.3

Both changes in terminology are not yet reflected in the official NATO Terminology Database. Still, at least for the ‘Uncrewed Aircraft’, terminology change proposals are initiated and likely to be adopted sometime this year.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), NATO Gender-Inclusive Language Manual, Apr. 2020.
US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Notices to Air Missions (NOTAM), JO 7930.S2 CHG 2, 2 Dec. 2021.
Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Leading industry association rebrands as Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International, 23 Feb. 2022.
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Lieutenant Colonel
Joint Air Power Competence Centre

Lieutenant Colonel Haider began his military career with the German Armed Forces in April 1992. He initially served as a Personnel NCO in the 150th Rocket Artillery Battalion HQ. Following his promotion to Lieutenant in 1998, he took on the role of an MLRS platoon leader within the same battalion. After three years, he transitioned to the position of CIS Branch Head at the 150th Rocket Artillery Battalion HQ. Subsequently, Lieutenant Colonel Haider was assigned to the 325th Tank Artillery Battalion, where he served as a battery commander before assuming command of the maintenance and supply battery. In 2008, he was appointed as the commander of the maintenance and supply company within the 284th Signal Battalion. His responsibilities expanded in 2010 when he became the Deputy Commander of the German support staff for the 1st NATO Signal Battalion. As a follow-on assignment, he served as the Deputy Battalion Commander of the 132nd Rocket Artillery Battalion.

Since 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Haider has been a Subject Matter Expert for Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems within the JAPCC Combat Air Branch. Lieutenant Colonel Haider represents the JAPCC in and contributes to several key NATO groups, including the NATO Joint Capability Group Unmanned Aircraft Systems, the NATO Counter-UAS Working Group, and the NATO Joint Capability Group Maritime Unmanned Systems.

Information provided is current as of April 2024

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