DOD Branding & Trademark Licensing

Understanding and Using the Defense Department and/or Military Official Seal and Insignia

Published: 08/20/21 | Updated: 10/01/21

The Defense Department and military seals are protected by law and reserved for official use only. Under U.S. Code Title 18, Section 506, unauthorized use of the seals may include, but is not limited to commercial, marketing, advertising or promotion use by any nongovernment entity and is punishable.

Military services have provided alternatives to their seals for commercial purposes. They include logos or coats of arms. Permission to use any of these emblems must be granted by the respective services. There is no substitute for the Defense Department seal.

Most DOD and Military Service seals contain the words “DEPARTMENT OF.” For example, “DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE,” “DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY,” etc. The U.S. Coast Guard Seal is distinguished by the gold rope surrounding the anchors instead of the words “DEPARTMENT OF.” Other DOD Components and agency insignia may have a similar appearance. Emblems are often mistaken for seals because they are similar in shape. Please see this graphic for more information.

Using the DOD Seal
The DOD Seal may only be used in an official capacity by DOD or DOD Components.  Similarly, DOD logos or emblems containing the words "Department of" are generally restricted for internal, departmental use only.

Official use
Official use is considered when the DOD seal or logo are used on internal DOD presentations, letterhead, publications, or governmental websites where the content is produced by DOD personnel.  Contact the Military Service POC or OATSD(PA) if you are unsure whether or not you may use an official seal or logo.