Service: All Services (by Secretary of Defense)
Instituted: 6 February 1976
Criteria: Superior meritorious service to the United States while assigned to a Joint Activity in a position of significant responsibility
Devices: Bronze & Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
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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. Although it was established as equivalent to the Legion of Merit, its precedence is before the Legion of Merit when both are worn. Oak leaf clusters denote additional awards.