The Defense Superior Service Medal is awarded to any member of the armed forces for superior meritorious service in a position of significant responsibility while assigned to a DOD joint activity, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and specified and unified commands.
Defense Superior Service Medal
The Defense Superior Service Medal was authorized on February 6, 1976 by an executive order signed by President Ford. The medal was created to provide recognition to those assigned to joint duty on a level equivalent to that recognition provided by the Legion of Merit. Prior to establishment of the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Office of the Secretary of Defense had to provide recognition through equivalent awards that were approved through individual service channels.