Friday, June 22, 2012

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Staff & Army Staff Insignia

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff & Army Staff Insignia were always at the top of my “Military Insignia 3D” project’s to-do list. However, since those were amongst the most stunning-looking insignia of the U.S. military heraldry, I was keeping them on the back-burner until I felt that my techniques evolved far enough to tackle these badges. A good analogy would be what happened to George Lucas was with his first episodes of Star Wars. The major challenges were presented by flowing textures of gold, silver and black metal in my earlier arsenal, which I thought were not good enough at the time.  Until now, that is. At certain point I felt that I have finally developed all the necessary tools. You be the judge.

Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the
Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters. The composition of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is defined by statute and consists of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), and the Military Service Chiefs from the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marine Corps, all appointed by the President following Senate confirmation. Each of the individual Military Service Chiefs, outside of their Joint Chiefs of Staff obligations, works directly for the Secretary of the Military Department concerned, i.e. Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force.
Following the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986 the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have operational command authority, neither individually nor collectively, as the chain of command goes from the President to the Secretary of Defense, and from the Secretary of Defense to the Commanders of the Combatant Commands. Goldwater-Nichols also created the office of Vice Chairman, and the Chairman is now designated as the principal military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and to the President.
The Joint Staff (JS) is a headquarters staff in the Pentagon, composed of personnel from all the four services, that assists the Chairman and the Vice Chairman in discharging their responsibilities and is managed by the Director of the Joint Staff (DJS) who is a Lieutenant General or Vice Admiral.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, presented here, consists of an oval silver metal wreath of laurel, symbolic of achievement, courage, and victory. The four unsheathed swords refer to the armed might of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps and their combined constant vigilance and readiness in the defense of the United States.

General Staff Branch Insignia

A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or
Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units. A staff also provides an executive function which filters information needed by the commander, or shunts unnecessary information to a more appropriate tasker, handling the matter which would be an unnecessary distraction for the Commanding Officer at a more appropriate level.

On February 14, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed “An Act to Increase the efficiency of the Army” and four days later the Headquarters of the Army published it as General Orders Number 15. The brief act did five things. First Congress established a General Staff Corps. Second it defined the General Staff Corps duties. Third it severely limited the composition of the Corps from the Chief of Staff down to 20 captains or first lieutenants on a four-year detail. Next it provided that the Chief of Staff would supervise the various staff departments enumerated and lastly the act made the recently created Chief of Artillery an additional member of the General Staff.

On 17 June 1904, the Chief of Staff of the Army, Lieutenant General Chaffee, approved the design of the General Staff insignia to take effect 1 July 1904. The device has been in continual use since that date. The insignia was originally worn only by officers, in the grade of captain and above, detailed to the General Staff Corps. Authority for its wear was later extended to officers detailed to General Staff Corps with troops. At the time the Department of the Army was established as the legal successor to the War Department, the word "Corps" in the title of branch officers detailed to the General Staff Corps was dropped. The device is now worn by officers detailed in orders to the Army General Staff and to General Staff with troops. The star is symbolic of the highest level in the Army, and the Arms of the United States allude to the mission of the General Staff which is the exercise General Staff supervision over the management of the land forces of the United States.

Army Staff Identification Badge

The Army Staff Identification Badge is a badge of the United States Army
worn by personnel who serve at the Office of the Secretary of the Army and the Army Staff at Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) and its agencies. Neither an award nor a decoration, the badge is a distinguishing emblem of service. Initially issued as a temporary badge, officers and enlisted personnel demonstrating outstanding performance of duty and meeting all eligibility requirements can be processed after one complete year (365 days cumulative) of assignment and receive a certificate authorizing permanent wear of the badge.
General Douglas MacArthur first proposed an Army General Staff Badge in 1931, but it was not until 1933 that the United States War Department authorized it. The badge has remained unchanged in appearance since it was first created, but the name was changed in 1982 from the Army General Staff Identification Badge to the Army Staff Identification Badge, and the eligibility criteria have evolved. On a United States Army uniform, the Army Staff Identification Badge is worn centered on the right breast pocket. A similar Army Staff Lapel Pin is authorized for civilian employees of the Department of the Army, regardless of grade, who fill an eligible position in an HQDA agency for no less than one year. 
The badge is based on the General Staff insignia with a black star in lieu of the Silver Star. The addition of the laurel leaves indicate achievement. The Coat of Arms of the United States in gold with the stripes of the shield to be enameled white and red and chief of the shield and the sky of the glory to be enameled blue, superimposed on a five-pointed black enameled star; in each reentrant angle of the star are three green enameled laurel leaves. The star is 3 inches (7.62 cm) in diameter for the Chief of Staff and former Chiefs of Staff and 2 inches (5.08 cm) in diameter for all other personnel awarded the badge. A miniature badge with 7 stripes in the chief instead of 13 stripes and 1 1/2 inches (3.81 cm) in diameter was authorized on 23 June 1989.

As always, the above insignia are available on a limited number of selected quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries at Zazzle. You may simply follow the direct links in the article to navigate to the corresponding galleries
I will also make my insignia designs available free of charge to any military units and personnel, for any non-profit/non-commercial and charitable causes, benefiting troops and their families. In addition, I would make my designs available free of charge to any military branches, formations and units for any non-commercial internal duty-specific purposes, such as unit-related web design, training materials or presentations, as I did on many occasions in the past.

The above information provided in part by Wikipedia, The Institute of Heraldry, Global Security.  


  1. How do I get in touch with you about an insignia design for my unit?

    1. @Hiside: Feel free to contact me via "Send Message" link in any of my Zazzle galleries, and I will respond with my contact info. Cheers...

  2. Would it be okay if I used one of your insignia's for a game mod? It's Panzer Corps ,an updated version of Panzer General, and I'm working on a Allied Corps mod.

  3. Hey

    Do you have these artwork images in Vector?


    1. Could you send me a sample one? I might be interested in purchasing some of them.

    2. Drop me your contact info via any of my Zazzle galleries, and we will discuss this...


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