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Navy Scuttles All-Cap Messages


Word went out from the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command on May 8 that the Navy’s internal messaging system now had the ability to transmit in lower case as well as the traditional upper case letters.

“Therefore, it is not necessary to limit Navy messages entirely to upper case,” said the directive, first reported by the Navy Times. Of course, the message saying that upper case was no longer needed went out this way: “THEREFORE, IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO LIMIT NAVY MESSAGES ENTIRELY TO UPPER CASE.”

Alone among the services, the Navy has been using all capitals for internal administrative messages from the routine to the emergency going back more than a century to the days when teletype machines only sent capitals.

The reasoning behind the change was that messages in lower and upper case were easier to read, Navy officials said. Another factor was that younger recipients of all-cap messages might tend to think that the person sending them was SCREAMING AT THEM AND REALLY TICKED OFF.

“The capability has been there for about a year” to send routine messages in lower case, said Lt. Joseph Holstead, a spokesman for the Cyber Command. The next step will be to expand that capability to secret and top secret messages, possibly in August, Holstead said.

“There are still a couple of legacy systems out there that we’ll have to convert,” probably in mid-2014, Holstead said.

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