Defense Meritorious Service Medal
The third-highest award bestowed upon members of the United States military by the United States Department of Defense. Awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense to members of the Armed Forces who, while serving in a joint activity, distinguish themselves by non-combat outstanding achievement or meritorious service, but not of a degree to warrant award of the Defense Superior Service Medal. Additional awards of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters. The medal is not the same as the Meritorious Service Medal, which is a separate federal military decoration. Both have virtually identical award criteria, but the Defense Superior Service Medal is awarded to service-members assigned to joint, multi-service organizations, while the Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to service-members in traditional military units.