In the late 1990s, the USAF's senior leadership recognized the need for a centralized symbol to encourage young people to join, airmen to stay and to build understanding, and foster appreciation and support for America's Air Force. They contracted a commercial branding firm to research and develop a unique symbol. Company representatives traveled throughout the Air Force and major U.S. cities to conduct research and become familiar with the USAF's culture, environment and heritage. The new symbol they designed is based on the familiar WW II "Hap" Arnold wings and represents the service's proud heritage. The modern design represents the Air Force’s present and future leading edge capabilities in defending our nation.