The Joint Chiefs of Staff have, figuratively, unsheathed a new sword on the Joint Staff's seal: the Space Force.
The seal has been revised to include the Space Force.
"The revising of the Joint Staff seal, now including the United States Space Force, demonstrates our commitment to the future and ensuring that we have capabilities in all domains necessary to defend our country – land, air, sea and space," said Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The change is the first in the "JCS identification badge" since it was established in 1963. "Prior to that, members of the Joint Staff wore the DOD identification badge – the one members of that staff still wear," said David B. Crist, the JCS historian.
After the chief of Space Operations was made a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in February 2020, one of Crist's historians was looking at the JCS badge. "Chris Holmes was the first to look at the badge and realize there are four swords on it to represent the military services," Crist said. "So, to be consistent, if you have an additional military service, there ought to be another sword for the badge."
Crist and crew researched to ensure the four swords on the badge represented the services. They did. The members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously voted to change the badge to reflect the addition of the Space Force.
The Joint Staff reached out to the Department of the Army's Institute of Heraldry, which is based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The institute provides heraldic support not only to the military, but to all federal agencies that request it and designed the original badge. "Charles Mungo, the institute's director, said he was wondering when he would hear from us," Crist said. "He told me he was waiting for somebody to say the badge has to change because there's additional service."
The institute presented three designs to the Joint Chiefs. Milley wrote to Mungo saying the chiefs had chosen the option that added a slightly elevated sword in the center of the old design to reflect force projection into space.
The change is subtle. The badge has the same oval laurel wreath representing achievement, courage and victory; it also has the same red, white and blue shield of the United States. The difference is there are now five, unsheathed swords representing the armed might of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Space Force.
The old badge is grandfathered for three years, Crist said. The newly designed badge will be issued to new members of the staff. He noted that the new badge is already available for sale.