Service: All Services (by Secretary of Defense)
Instituted: 3 November 1977
Criteria: Noncombat meritorious achievement or service while assigned to a Joint Activity
Devices: Bronze & Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
Authorized on November 3, 1977. The Defense Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to any active member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguishes him/herself by noncombat meritorious achievement or service while serving in a Joint Activity after November 3, 1977.
The bronze medal has an eagle with spread wings in the center superimposed on a pentagon in the center of a laurel wreath. The reverse is inscribed with the words, “DEFENSE MERITORIOUS SERVICE” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”. The ribbon has a wide white center stripe with three light blue stripes in the middle. The white stripe is flanked by ruby red and white.