Service: All Services
Instituted: 1981 (Retroactive to 1979)
Criteria: Awarded to Joint Service units for superior meritorious achievement or service
Devices: Bronze, Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver and Bronze Stars
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award was authorized by the Secretary of Defense on June 10, 1981 (retroactive to January 23, 1979) and was originally called the Department of Defense Meritorious Unit Award. It is awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense for meritorious service, superior to that which would normally be expected during combat, a declared national emergency or under extraordinary circumstances that involve national interest. The service performed by the unit would be similar to that performed by an individual awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal. The ribbon is similar to the Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon with a gold metal frame with laurel leaves. Like the Defense Superior Service Medal, the ribbon consists of a central stripe of red flanked on either side by stripes of white, blue and yellow, but with blue edges. Additional awards are denoted by oak leaf clusters.