An allegedly new logo for the Missile Defense Agency is suddenly a controversial item, for reasons explained -- or not, depending on your viewpoint -- here and here, among many other places.
To recap very briefly: Some see this allegedly new logo as too reminiscent of President Obama's campaign logo, while others see something more nefarious -- akin to a pro-Islamic fundamentalist message, more or less.
We asked MDA spokesman Rick Lehner about it, and here's his e-mailed response, which should (but probably won't) put this issue to rest:
Such a non-issue, am really surprised by the response. It isn't a new MDA logo, its a design we've been using on recruiting materials since 2007 for a more contemporary look for those materials and for the top of our website pages when we redesigned the site last fall. It hasn't replaced the official MDA five-color logo and never will--look at our news releases and fact sheets. And there was certainly no input from anyone outside MDA on any aspect of the design except for the company hired to help with our recruiting materials in 2006.
That last point seems especially important: It was an MDA decision, not something drummed up or hammered down by Obama administration officials.
Way back in 1995, the Army's Space and Strategic Defense Command (now Space and Missile Defense Command) ran into a problem with its new logo, as we reported at the time:
When Lt. Gen. Jay Garner took the helm at the Space and Strategic Defense Command last year, he brought with him a philosophy that SSDC had to better market itself to remain viable in the post-Cold War world. With that philosophy came a new command logo, but Garner's minions don't seem to be taking to it well, says SSDC congressional liaison Renee Stroud.
"Being only human, frustration set in when, after my telephone rang for the 'umpteenth' time it was yet another person on the other end of my fiber optic complaining about the new command logo," Stroud writes in the latest issue of The Eagle, SSDC's in-house newspaper.
Outside SSDC, however, the response has been positive. "The logo was intended to be used externally to attract attention," Stroud states. "As our primary marketing symbol, the logo has been the recipient of praise and admiration from graphics and marketing people as well as folks on Capitol Hill. It was designed to encourage people to pick up the briefing or brochure that is often left behind, long after our message has been delivered."
So, to all those doubters, Stroud offers a detailed explanation of the logo's meaning. It features an eagle that is suppose to symbolize patriotism, but the eagle's expression -- that's right, the eagle's expression -- signifies determination. And the eagle is portrayed as only "slightly touching" the Earth to show that "our mission is never complete," Stroud says.
All this against a space background, to show that SSDC is the Army's focal point for space. "Not many people or organizations external to ours know or understand that fact," Stroud writes.
The logo, unveiled about two months ago, was a difficult project, Stroud says, but has not been extremely popular. And so she wonders if the successful "birth" of the logo "has turned into a postpartum depression. Every time the telephone rings I have to wonder, after picking up the receiver, if I may have born for my colleagues a 'misunderstood child.'"