The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in response to the September 11 Attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the U.S. from terrorist attacks and responding to natural disasters.
(DHS) is a cabinet department of the United States federal government and is the third largest Cabinet department, after the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Homeland security policy is coordinated at the White House by the Homeland Security Council. Other agencies with significant homeland security responsibilities include the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, and Energy.
A DHS press release dated June 6, 2003 explains the seal as follows:
The seal was developed with input from senior DHS leadership, employees, and the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts. The Ad Council – which partners with DHS on its Ready.gov campaign – and the consulting company Landor Associates were responsible for graphic design and maintaining heraldic integrity.
The seal is symbolic of the Department’s mission – to prevent attacks and protect Americans – on the land, in the sea and in the air. In the center of the seal, a graphically styled white American eagle appears in a circular blue field. The eagle’s outstretched wings break through an inner red ring into an outer white ring that contains the words “U.S. DEPARTMENT OF” in the top half and “HOMELAND SECURITY” in the bottom half in a circular placement. The eagle’s wings break through the inner circle into the outer ring to suggest that the Department of Homeland Security will break through traditional bureaucracy and perform government functions differently. In the tradition of the Great Seal of the United States, the eagle’s talon on the left holds an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 seeds while the eagle’s talon on the right grasps 13 arrows.
Centered on the eagle’s breast is a shield divided into three sections containing elements that represent the American homeland – air, land, and sea. The top element, a dark blue sky, contains 22 stars representing the original 22 entities that have come together to form the department. The left shield element contains white mountains behind a green plain underneath a light blue sky. The right shield element contains four wave shapes representing the oceans alternating light and dark blue separated by white lines.