Created by Presidential Order of George W. Bush in March 2003. The decoration recognizes those military service members who have performed deployed overseas service in the War on Terrorism from September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined.
Awarded for duty in a deployed status and participation in designated anti-terrorism operation for a period of either 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days of duty.
In June of 2005, the GWOTEM was discontinued for service within Iraq and Afghanistan, with such service now being recognized with the Iraq Campaign Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Personnel who received the GWOTEM for previous service in these two regions may elect to exchange the GWOTEM or retain the original decoration. All future service within Iraq and Afghanistan, however, will only be recognized by the award of the new Iraq and Afghanistan service medals.