Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Established by Executive order in July 1970, (new award).

Awarded to any service branch, peace time or war.

Awarded by the sole discretion of the Secretary of Defense, to any military officer who is assigned to Joint Staffs or joint activities of the DoD who distinguishes themselves by exceptionally meritorious service in a position of great responsibility.

Also be awarded to other senior officers whose direct and individual contributions to national security or defense are recognized as being so exceptional in scope and value as to be equivalent to contributions normally associated with positions encompassing broader responsibilities.