President Obama signed an executive order today extending eligibility for the third-highest Defense Department recognition to foreign armies.
“Executive Order 12019 of November 3, 1977 (Establishing the Defense Meritorious Service Medal), is amended by inserting, ‘or to any member of the armed forces of a friendly foreign nation,’ after ‘any member of the Armed Forces of the United States,’” said the short order.
Worn between the Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to military personnel “serving with or assigned to a number of joint activities including the Secretary of Defense, organizations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and headquarters of joint commands,” according to an Air Force fact sheet. “Other joint activities and specified commands such as military assistance advisory groups and joint missions; and jointly manned staffs within Allied Command Europe, Allied Command Atlantic, the NATO Military Committee, and military agencies associated with functions of the military or other joint activities as may be designated by the secretary are also included.”
The medal is awarded for “non-combat meritorious achievement or service that is incontestably exceptional and of magnitude that clearly places the individual above his peers while serving in one of the assignments for which the medal has been designated.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney did not address the order at today’s daily briefing, focusing instead on Obama’s trip to Tokyo next week.