The eagle symbolizes our great nation and our alertness, ready to defend our homeland. The olive branch symbolizes peace. The group of 13 arrows symbolizes war and represents the first 13 states. The eagle's head is turned toward the olive branch, indicating our desire for peace.
The shield symbolizes a warrior's primary piece of defensive equipment. The 13 alternating red and white bars on the shield represent the 13 original colonies. The chief, in blue, holds 13 six-pointed stars, a reference to the six-pointed design from General George Washington's personal flag.
A depiction of U.S. Northern Command's area of responsibility (AOR) is in the background, shielded by the eagle. On the AOR are three stars, a remembrance of each of the sites of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The stars are gold, a symbol of those who lost their lives. The gold star accorded the rightful honor and glory to people for their offering of supreme sacrifice for their country.
The five stars at the top of the crest represent the five services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The stars are eight-pointed, representing the eight points on a compass and symbolizing our mission to counter the global threat of terrorism. The stars are lined up over the AOR, depicting the umbrella of protection that USNORTHCOM provides North America.
The outside rings of red, blue, and red with the white lettering of the command's name represent the colors of the nation and national flag.