At 4:31 on Friday, President Trump tweeted an image of what he said is the Space Force’s official “new logo.”
Just minutes before, I had been on the phone with a spokesperson for the Space Force—who had told me something else entirely.
I had been interviewing the spokesperson about the particulars of various Space Force accoutrements that are in the works—the branch’s uniform, song, and, as it so happened, official seal.
Funny I should ask, the spokesperson said—he happened to be looking at mockups for a possible seal on the office’s desktop computer screen. “That is all being kicked around right now as I speak,” he said.
Throughout the 15-minute conversation, the spokesperson seemed to suggest that the Pentagon was some distance away from choosing an official seal. “There’s a lot of stuff that’s still in progress,” he said, things that are “under design and conceptual stages right now—same with logos, branding, that type of effort.”
Focus groups are currently evaluating some of the designs, he told me. One reason for the slow pace, he said, is copyright law: “Trademark, copyright stuff, also for [potential] seals,” he said. “So that’s why it’s a process.”
The spokesperson said to check back in after the 36th annual Space Symposium in April. “We don’t want to get too ahead—there’s nothing official,” he told me.
Then, five minutes after the call ended, Trump tweeted the logo, which many observers have noted closely resembles the fictitious logo of Star Trek’s Starfleet Command.
After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military! pic.twitter.com/TC8pT4yHFT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020
Trump has been known to make announcements by tweet that catch others in the government off guard, such as when he reportedly announced that John Kelly would be serving as chief of staff before he actually consulted with John Kelly about the timing.
Reached after Trump’s tweet, a spokesperson issued the following statement:
“The President selected the United States Space Force seal from a number of seal options provided by the Department of the Air Force. The delta symbol, the central design element in the seal, was first used as early as 1942 by the U.S. Army Air Forces; and was used in early Air Force space organization emblems dating back to 1961. Since then, the delta symbol has been a prominent feature in military space community emblems.”