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“Operation Odyssey Dawn.” What’s in a Name?


Why are Military Actions in Libya Called “Operation Odyssey Dawn”?

“Operation Odyssey Dawn” began Saturday (March 19th) in Libya, when French warplanes opened fire on four pro-Gaddafi tanks headed to Benghazi.

An international coalition agreed to initiate airstrikes following the UN Security Council resolution on Libya (see last post). which authorized “all necessary measures” short of a ground invasion to defend civilians from attacks by units loyal to Libyan leader.

Phase One started the same day with the involvement of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada.

U.S. military’s nickname for the no-fly zone in Libya is “Operation Odyssey Dawn.”

According to the Washington Post “The Pentagon permits military commanders to assign two-word nicknames to military exercises or operations using instructions laid out in a carefully crafted Defense Department naming policy. The instructions assign each military command a certain set of words that must be used to select the name’s first word. AFRICOM is assigned to use pairings of words that start with JS to JZ, NS to NZ and OA to OS … A recent headquarters exercise was called Judicious Response, and another recent operation used the NS to NZ range, leaving OA to OS as the only option …

So how did commanders select “Odyssey Dawn”?

A group of lieutenant colonels and majors met several weeks ago in the early planning stages of the operation and agreed that Odyssey was the only usable word in the OA to OS range. Then, “they sat around and brainstormed for a random word that went well with it.””

Here’s what countries enforcing the resolution name “Operation Odyssey Dawn” 

*Canada: Operation Mobile

*France: Opération Harmattan

*United Kingdom: Operation Ellamy

*United States,  Italy,  Denmark,  Norway: Operation Odyssey Dawn

*NATO: Operation Unified Protector (arms embargo)



One Response to “ “Operation Odyssey Dawn.” What’s in a Name? ”
  • David

    Hell yeah, Odyssey is a perfect word! Looks like a really great portion of brainstorming is behind this accurate and precise wording session.

    Like, you know. Going for 10 years into the desert. Fighting monsters. Going back and find your wife with another.



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