President Obama has signed an executive order that allows foreign troops who work with the U.S. military to be eligible for the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Previously, coalition troops serving as part of the NATO effort in Afghanistan and other joint efforts could be recognized only by the individual U.S. military service branches, not the Defense Department. That meant foreign troops were limited to receiving the Meritorious Service Medal, awarded for service-specific achievements.
The new change “allows for timely and appropriate recognition to members of the armed forces of friendly foreign nations supporting joint activities,” Defense Department spokeswoman Joy Crabaugh said in an April 21 email to Military Times.
The Defense Meritorious Service Medal “is a defense/joint decoration awarded on behalf of the secretary of defense for non-combat meritorious achievement or service while assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commands, defense agencies, or other such joint activities,” she said.