Monday, July 18, 2011

U.S. Department of Defense: insignia of Unified Combatant Commands

Several expansive sections of my Military Insignia 3D project have been dedicated exclusively to Unified Combatant Commands of the Unites States. A Unified Combatant Command (UCC) is a United States Department of Defense command that is composed of forces from at least two Military Departments and has a broad and continuing mission. These commands are established to provide effective command and control of U.S. military forces, regardless of branch of service, in peace and war. They are organized either on a geographical basis (known as "Area of Responsibility", AOR) or on a functional basis. UCCs are "joint" commands with specific badges denoting their affiliation. Each unified commands is led by a Combatant Commander (CCDR), who is a four-star General or Admiral. CCDRs exercise combatant command (COCOM), a specific type of nontransferable command authority over assigned forces, regardless of branch of service that is vested only in the CCDRs by federal law. The Chain of Command for operational purposes goes from the President to the Secretary of Defense and from the Secretary of Defense to the Combatant Commanders.

The current system of unified commands in the US military emerged during World War II with the establishment of geographic theaters of operation composed of forces from multiple service branches that reported to a single commander who was supported by a joint staff. The number of UCCs is constantly changing, and commands are constantly being merged, created, activated and deactivated.

There are 10 Current Unified Combatant Commands. Below you will find their insignia, recreated as part of my “Military Insignia 3D” project. As always, I was polishing up my Multi-Layer Enhancement & Texturing Technique (or M-LETT 3D; I discuss it in detail in this post), and kept playing with new textures and inventing a few new tricks, utilizing virtually unlimited potential of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop CS5.
In this post I will introduce insignia of all 10 UCCs.  In real time, however, I already went much further and almost completed insignia of subordinate components for each UCC. In my future posts I will introduce each UCC along with all their components in more detail. Stay tuned.     

The United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM) is one of ten Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Armed Forces, headquartered at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. It is responsible for U.S. military operations and military relations with 53 African nations – an area of responsibility covering all of Africa except Egypt.

The Combatant Commander of U.S. Africa Command reports to the Secretary of Defense, who in turn reports to the President of the United States. In individual countries, U.S. Ambassadors continue to be the President's personal representatives in diplomatic relations with host nations.

United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command unit of the U.S. armed forces, established in 1983 under the operational control of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. It was originally conceived of as the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF).
Its area of responsibility includes countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, most notably Afghanistan and Iraq. CENTCOM has been the main American presence in many military operations, including the Gulf War, the United States war in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Forces from CENTCOM currently are deployed primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat roles and have bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, and central Asia in support roles. CENTCOM forces have also been deployed in Jordan, and Saudi Arabia in the past, although no substantial forces are based in those countries as of 2009.

Of the six American regional unified commands, CENTCOM is one of three regional unified commands whose headquarters are not within its area of operations. CENTCOM's main headquarters is located at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida, although a forward headquarters was established in 2002 at Camp As Sayliyah in Doha, Qatar, which transitioned to a new forward headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in 2009 to serve American strategic interests of the Iraq region.

The United States European Command (EUCOM) is one of ten Unified Combatant Commands of the United States military, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Its area of focus covers 21,000,000 square miles (54,000,000 km2) and 51 countries and territories, including Europe, Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Israel. The Commander of EUCOM simultaneously serves as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) within NATO.
EUCOM was established on 1 August 1952, to provide "unified command and authority" over all United States forces in Europe. During the Cold War and the Kosovo War, EUCOM was the lead command for potential operations. During the Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch, EUCOM controlled the forces flying from Incirlik Air Base.

Immediately after the terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, D.C., on 11 September 2001, NATO invoked Article V of the treaty and deployed NATO early warning aircraft to help monitor the skies over North America. EUCOM provided major forces for subsequent operations in Afghanistan and stepped up its efforts to protect United States interests in Europe and Africa. Subsequent terrorist attacks in the EUCOM theater in Casablanca, Madrid, London and Algiers prompted EUCOM to launch Operation Enduring Freedom Trans-Sahara in 2007 while continuing to provide rotational forces to Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2003, the headquarters reorganized to establish the EUCOM Plans and Operations Center (EPOC). From 2006 to 2008, EUCOM helped stand-up a new geographic unified combatant command, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), which took over responsibility for Department of Defense activities in Africa on 1 October 2008.

United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) is one of ten Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Armed Forces. Unlike the six commands with responsibility for war plans and operations in specified portions of the world, USJFCOM is a functional command that provides specific services to the military, and the only combatant command focused on the transformation of U.S. military capabilities.  As directed by the President to identify opportunities to cut costs and rebalance priorities, Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended in August 2010 that USJFCOM be disestablished and its essential functions assigned to other organizations. President Barack Obama approved the command's disestablishment 6 January 2011. The target date for disestablishment is set for no later than 31 August 2011.

USJFCOM was formed in 1999 when the old United States Atlantic Command was renamed and given a new mission: leading the transformation of the U.S. military through experimentation and education. USLANTCOM had been active from 1947 to 1993 as a primarily U.S. Navy command, focused upon the wartime defense of the Atlantic sea lanes against Soviet attack. After the end of the Cold War, a 1993 reorganization gave the Command a new acronym, USACOM, and brought United States Army Forces Command and Air Combat Command under its authority. In late 2004, U.S. Joint Forces Command assumed the role of primary conventional force provider. This landmark change assigned nearly all U.S. conventional forces to Joint Forces Command.

United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM, or informally just NORTHCOM) is a Unified Combatant Command of the United States military. Created on 1 October 2002 in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, its mission is to protect the United States homeland and support local, state, and federal authorities. The support that USNORTHCOM provides to civil authorities is limited by the Posse Comitatus Act which limits the role of the U.S. military in civil law enforcement. However, in case of national emergencies, natural or man-made, its Air Forces Northern National Security Emergency Preparedness Directorate will take charge of the situation or event.
USNORTHCOM’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) includes air, land and sea approaches and encompasses the contiguous United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles (930 km). It also includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, portions of the Caribbean region to include The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The commander of USNORTHCOM is responsible for theater security cooperation with Canada, Mexico, and The Bahamas.  USNORTHCOM is composed of several standing Joint Task Forces (JTFs) previously assigned to United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM): Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region, Joint Task Force-Civil Support, Joint Task Force Alaska, and Joint Task Force North. USNORTHCOM service components include U.S. Fifth Army/ARNORTH, First Air Force/AFNORTH, and United States Fleet Forces Command.

The United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) is a Unified Combatant Command of the armed forces of the United States, led by the Commander, Pacific Command (CDRUSPACOM), is the supreme military authority for the various branches of the Armed Forces of the United States serving within its area of responsibility (AOR). Only the President of the United States, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and the Secretary of Defense advised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) have greater authority. It is the oldest and largest of the ten Unified Combatant Commands. It is based in Honolulu, Hawai'i on the island of O'ahu.

The United States Pacific Command was established on 1 January 1947 by President Harry Truman and was originally headquartered in the Salt Lake subdivision of Honolulu. The main combat power of USPACOM is formed by U.S. Army Pacific, Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Pacific Air Forces, all headquartered in Honolulu with component forces stationed throughout the region. The United States Pacific Command's area of jurisdiction covers over fifty percent of the world's surface area – approximately 105 million square miles (nearly 272 million square kilometers) – nearly sixty percent of the world's population, thirty-six countries, twenty territories, and ten territories and possessions of the United States.

The United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), located in Miami, Florida, is one of ten Unified Combatant Commands (COCOMs) in the United States Department of Defense. It is responsible for providing contingency planning and operations in Central and South America, the Caribbean (except U.S. commonwealths, territories, and possessions), Cuba, their territorial waters, and for the force of U.S. military resources at these locations. USSOUTHCOM is also responsible for ensuring the militarization of the Panama Canal and canal area.

Under the leadership of a four-star Commander, USSOUTHCOM is organized into a headquarters with six main directorates, component commands and military groups that represent SOUTHCOM in the region of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

USSOUTHCOM is a joint command of more than 1,200 military and civilian personnel representing the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and several other federal agencies. Civilians working at USSOUTHCOM are, for the most part, civilian employees of the Army, as the Army is USSOUTHCOM's Combatant Command Support Agent. The Services provide USSOUTHCOM with component commands which, along with their Joint Special Operations component, two Joint Task Forces, one Joint Interagency Task Force, and Security Cooperation Offices, perform USSOUTHCOM missions and activities. USSOUTHCOM exercises its COCOM authority through the commanders of its components, Joint Task Forces/Joint Interagency Task Force, and Security Cooperation Organizations

United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands (SOC or SOCOM) of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States armed forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense. USSOCOM is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

USSOCOM conducts several covert and clandestine missions, such as unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, psychological operations, Civil Affairs, direct action, counter-terrorism and War on Drugs operations. Each branch has a Special Operations Command that is unique and capable of running its own operations, but when the different Special Operations Forces need to work together for an operation, USSOCOM becomes the joint component command of the operation, instead of a SOC of a specific branch.

United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is one of the ten Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The Command, including components, employs more than 2,700 people, representing all four services, including DoD civilians and contractors, who oversee the command's operationally focused global strategic mission.
Strategic Command was established in 1992 as a successor to Strategic Air Command (SAC).

It is charged with space operations (such as military satellites), information operations (such as information warfare), missile defense, global command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR), global strike and strategic deterrence (the United States nuclear arsenal), and combating weapons of mass destruction.

USSTRATCOM is headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base south of Omaha, Nebraska. In October 2002, USSTRATCOM merged with the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM).
USSTRATCOM is one of the four Unified Combatant Commands organized along a functional basis. The other six are organized on a geographical basis.

The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is one of ten unified commands of the United States Department of Defense. The mission of USTRANSCOM is to provide air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense, both in time of peace and time of war.

USTRANSCOM, located at Scott Air Force Base Illinois, was established in 1987. As the single manager of America's global defense transportation system, USTRANSCOM is tasked with the coordination of people and transportation assets to allow the US to project and sustain forces, whenever, wherever, and for as long as they are needed.

Composed of three component commands: The Air Force's Air Mobility Command, the Navy's Military Sealift Command and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, USTRANSCOM coordinates missions worldwide using both military and commercial transportation resources. Agencies within the command headquarters include JOSAC (Joint Operational Support Airlift Center).

As always, the above insignia are available on a limited number of selected high quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries exclusively from You can just follow the links in the article to get to the corresponding galleries.

I will also make my insignia designs available free of charge to any military units and personnel to be used for non-profit/non-commercial and charitable causes, benefiting troops and their families, as well as for non-commercial internal units’ duty-specific purposes, such as unit website design, training materials and presentations, as I have already done on a number of occasions.

The above information provided in part by The Institute of Heraldry, Global Security, Wikipedia and websites of certain Unified Combatant Commands

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Military Insignia 3D Eastern Edition: military insignia of the Russian Federation

Military Insignia 3D Eastern Edition: military insignia of the Russian Federation

As you may have learned from my previous post, Military Insignia 3D has expanded internationally. Recently, I have started my British, Australian, German and French military insignia collections. Now it was time to explore the East. For as long as I can remember, I was always captivated by Russian military insignia, especially by the ones of the pre-Soviet period. Time has passed; Russian military heraldry went the full circle and ended up almost at the point it was before the communist regime. The Russian Federation has re-adopted many symbols of the good old times, including the tri-color flag, and two-headed eagles of various types. 

For quite some time now, I was eager and anxious to get my hands on Russian military heraldry. However, the undeniable beauty of the Russian insignia also presented certain irrefutable challenges. From the artistic point of view, these were among the most complex images to tackle. Think massive amount of detail, substantial number of textures and materials and layers upon layers upon layers of design elements – to name just a few dares I had to deal with. Well, what can I say? Just the way I like it. As usually, I enjoyed every single bit of it. Without further ado, let me present the first piece of my Russian collection – the emblem of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation.  

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (Russian: Вооружё́нные Си́лы Росси́йской Федера́ции Transliteration: Voruzhonnije Síly Rossíyskoj Federátsii) are the military services of Russia, established after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
The Russian military is divided into the following branches: the Russian Ground Forces, the Russian Navy, and the Russian Air Force. There are also three independent arms of service : Strategic Missile Troops, Military Space Forces, and the Russian Airborne Troops. The Troops of Air Defense, the former Soviet Air Defense Forces, have been subordinated into the Air Force since 1998. The Armed Forces as a whole seem to be traditionally referred to as the Army (armiya), except in some cases, the Navy.
Although the Russian armed forces were formed in 1992, the Russian military dates its roots back to the times of the Kiev Russ.
A new military doctrine, promulgated in November 1993, implicitly acknowledged the contraction of the old Soviet military into a regional military power without global imperial ambitions. In keeping with its emphasis on the threat of regional conflicts, the doctrine called for a Russian military that is smaller, lighter, and more mobile, with a higher degree of professionalism and with greater rapid deployment capability. Such change proved extremely difficult to achieve. Key elements of the reforms announced in October 2008 include reducing the armed forces to a strength of one million by 2012; reducing the number of officers; centralizing officer training from 65 military schools into 10 'systemic' military training centers; reducing the size of the central command; introducing more civilian logistics and auxiliary staff; elimination of cadre-strength formations; reorganizing the reserves; reorganizing the army into a brigade system; and reorganizing air forces into an air base system instead of regiments.

As always, the above insignia will be available on a limited number of selected high quality customizable products via my “Military Insignia” galleries exclusively at Zazzle.  Just follow the links in the article to navigate to the corresponding galleries. For special and custom orders, you can always contact me via "Send Message" feature from any page of my Zazzle Military Insignia galleries.  

I will also make my insignia designs available free of charge to any non-profit/non-commercial and charitable causes, benefiting troops and their families, as I have already done on numerous occasions in the past.

Military Insignia 3D is expanding: meet Britain, Australia, Germany and France

When I just started working on my “Military Insignia 3D” project, I have decided that the emphasis will be put on insignia of Canadian Armed Forces and Armed forces of the USA. However, at some point, I was planning to expand the project to encompass military heraldry of other countries as well. So, at this point I have decided that the time has come. You all know the sad story behind the Canadian chapter of the project. In case if you missed it, you can find it here. Hopefully, my other international galleries will be in for a better and brighter future. Only the time will tell. Nevertheless, I continue having fun, and the project keeps getting bigger and better. 

At this stage of the project, I have decided to recreate major emblems of the British, Australian, German and French armed forces. Business as usual. I keep improving my M-LETT (Multi-Layer Enhancement & Texturing  Technique), and keep delving into the limitless possibilities of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator CS5. The end results speak for themselves. Be the first to take a glimpse at my international entries of the “Military Insignia 3D” …  

The armed forces of the United Kingdom, known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces or sometimes the British Armed Forces, and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, encompasses the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force. The British Armed Forces are a purely professional and volunteer force, and constitute the second largest military in the EU in terms of professional personnel and reserves.

The British Armed Forces are charged with protecting the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, promoting Britain's wider security interests, and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. They are active and regular participants in NATO and other coalition operations. Britain is also party to the Five Power Defence Arrangements. 

Recent operations have included wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2000 intervention in Sierra Leone, ongoing peacekeeping responsibilities in the Balkans and Cyprus, and participation in the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya. Overseas garrisons and facilities are maintained at Ascension Island, Belize, Brunei, Canada, Diego Garcia, the Falkland Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Kenya, Qatar and the Sovereign Base Areas (Cyprus).

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is the military organization responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and a number of 'tri-service' units.

During the first decades of the 20th century, the Australian Government established three separate armed services. Each service had an independent chain of command. In 1976, the government made a strategic change and established the ADF to place the services under a single headquarters. 

Over time, the degree of integration has increased and tri-service headquarters, logistics and training institutions have supplanted many single-service establishments.

The ADF is technologically sophisticated but relatively small. Although the ADF's 57,697 full-time active-duty personnel, 21,248 active reserves and 22,166 standby reserves make it the largest military in Oceania, it is still smaller than most Asian militaries. Nonetheless, the ADF is able to deploy forces in multiple locations outside Australia.

ADF has three priorities. The first of these priorities is to maintain the capability to defend Australian territory from any credible attack, without relying on help from the combat forces of any other country. The second priority is to contribute to the security of Australia's immediate neighbourhood through working with neighbouring countries and participating in United Nations-sanctioned peacekeeping operations. The third priority for the ADF is to contribute to international coalitions of forces outside of Australia's immediate neighbourhood where Australian interests are engaged. The ADF is also responsible for contributing to coastal surveillance and responding to emergencies, including natural disasters.

The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The States of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government.

The Bundeswehr is divided into a military part (armed forces or Streitkräfte) and a civil part with the armed forces administration (Wehrverwaltung), the federal bureau of procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung) and the federal bureau for information management and information technology of the Bundeswehr (Bundesamt für Informationsmanagement und Informationstechnik der Bundeswehr, sometimes abbreviated as IT-AmtBw). 

The military part of the federal defense force consists of Army (Heer), Navy (Marine), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joint Support Service (Streitkräftebasis), and Central Medical Services (Zentraler Sanitätsdienst) branches.

The French Armed Forces encompass the French Army (Armée de Terre), the French Navy (Marine Nationale), the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air) and the National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie nationale). The President of the Republic heads the armed forces, with the title "chef des armées" ("chief of the military forces"). The President is the supreme authority for military matters and is the sole official who can order a nuclear strike. The French military has, as some of its primary objectives, the defence of national territory, the protection of French interests abroad, and the maintenance of global stability. The French Armed Forces is the largest military in the European Union in terms of man-power and the third largest in NATO. In 2009, the French Armed Forces had the third highest expenditure of any military in the world, as well as the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, behind only the United States and Russia.

As I mentioned earlier, the above insignia is available on a limited number of selected high quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries exclusively from You can just follow the links in the article to navigate to the corresponding galleries. 

I will also make my insignia designs available free of charge to any non-profit/non-commercial and charitable causes, benefiting troops and their families, as I have already done on a number of occasions.

Information provided in part by websites of the British, Australian, German and French armed forces and Wikipedia

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