A Gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86 cm) in height overall consisting of a shield blazoned: Per bend Azure and Gules on a bend Or between a fragment of the Rosetta Stone (depicting the name "Ptolemy" in Egyptian hieroglyphics, in Hieratic or script, and in Greek) and a Spanish trooper's hat both of the last, an olive branch Proper. Below the shield, a Gold scroll inscribed "DEFENSE LANGUAGE INSTITUTE" in Black letters.
The hat, worn by the first soldiers of the Presidio of Monterey, where the Army Language School was founded, alludes to the military aspect of the school. The Rosetta Stone, key to our knowledge of the language of ancient times, symbolizes the study of language as the key of understanding. It is inscribed with the word "Ptolemy" in Egyptian hieroglyphics, in Hieratic or script, and in Greek. The olive branch stands for the peace attained through understanding.
The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the Army Language School, Presidio of Monterey, California on 24 October 1956. It was reassigned for wear by only the Army elements of Defense Language Institute effective 1 July 1963. It was redesignated for wear by only the Army elements of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center on 30 April 1999. The insignia was amended to extend wear to the U.S. Army Element, Defense Language Institute English Language Center on 28 June 2013.