Skip to main content

U.S. Navy adjusts to the times; ditches its ALL CAPS message format

By Ed Payne, CNN
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 0845 GMT (1645 HKT)
Communications between U.S. Navy ships will no longer be uppercase, the Navy announced.
Communications between U.S. Navy ships will no longer be uppercase, the Navy announced.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The move will save the Navy more than $20 million a year
  • Using all caps is like shouting in current Internet protocol
  • The Navy has been using all caps since the 1850s

(CNN) -- Well, it seems the U.S. Navy finally got the memo: DON'T USE ALL CAPS! IT'S RUDE!

The Navy is switching to a new messaging system that's cheaper and more efficient.

And oh yeah, one that does away with a century-old practice: communications using all uppercase letters.

"Lowercase messages are here to stay; they provide a more readable format," a Navy news release said, citing James McCarty, the naval messaging program manager at U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.

The all-caps were a vestige of a bygone era.

Back in the 1850s, the teletype machines that the military used were made up of three rows of keys -- none of them lowercase letters.

Word of the change went out to all naval commands in April. But it didn't reach the rest of us until the news release this week.

In it, the Navy said it is ditching its in-house Defense Message System in favor of e-mail. One with a very apt acronym: NICE (Navy Interface for Command Email).

The switch will save the Navy $20 million a year. And it gets them caught up with current Internet protocol.

ALL CAPS READS LIKE YOU'RE BEING SHOUTED AT.

Old sea dogs may feel differently. But they have a couple of months to adjust.

The system won't fully be in place until next year.

Once it is, naval officers will no longer feel like they're being barked at.

Except, of course, in person by their superiors.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
Oscar Pistorius didn't consciously pull the trigger the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, the sprinter testified at his murder trial.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 2116 GMT (0516 HKT)
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
A mysterious new artwork has appeared in Cheltenham, where Britain's version of the NSA is located.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
Like many parents across Liverpool, the McManamans waited. 25 years ago, it was all they could do.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
The Maltese Falcon makes a swift turn while at sea.
How do you design a superyacht fit for the billionaire who has everything money can buy?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Pop art condoms in Kenya
Packaging can change how people see things. And when it comes to sex, it could maybe help save lives too.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1542 GMT (2342 HKT)
mediterranean monk seal
Africa is home to much unique wildlife, but many of its iconic species are threatened.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
... not in Italy. In fact, it's thousands of miles away.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0043 GMT (0843 HKT)
Ebola victims usually come from remote areas -- but now the lethal virus is in a city of two million.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1340 GMT (2140 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT