Created in 2002 by order of President George W. Bush.
Criteria: Authorized for US military who served in the Republic of Korea to uphold the armistice between South and North Korea. Service in the Korean theater must have been at least thirty consecutive days.
It is retroactive to the end of the Korean War and is granted to any service performed after July 28, 1954. The National Personnel Records Center is responsible for verifying entitlement of the KDSM to discharged members of the military who served in Korea prior to the creation of the KDSM.
Only one award of the Korea Defense Service Medal is authorized, regardless of the amount of time served in the Korean theater. For service members who were awarded an Overseas Service Ribbon for Korean service, both decorations may be worn simultaneously.