Established on Aug. 3, 1983, this award was established by and is awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense for either outstanding achievement or meritorious service and takes precedence before the achievement medals of the military services. It may not be awarded for any act or period of service which an Achievement Medal of a military service is awarded, and it should not be awarded for retirement.
To be eligible for this award, the individual must be a member of the armed forces of the United States below the grade of O-6, and assigned to a qualifying organization such as The defense agencies, Headquarters of Unified Commands, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The required service or achievement, while of a lesser degree than that required for award of the Joint Service Commendation Medal, must have been accomplished within distinction.
The medal was designed by Jay Morris and sculpted by Donald Borja, both of the Institute of Heraldry. It is a star of 12 points, on the obverse is an American bald eagle, facing left with wings spread, grasping three arrows and a shield upon its breast as adapted from the seal of the Department of Defense. The reverse of the medal is plain with the inscription, “Joint Service Achievement Award” in raised letters in circular form in the center.
The ribbon has a center stripe of red flanked on either side by a wide stripe of light blue and equal stripes of white, green, white and dark blue at the edge.
Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat “C”, Remote “R” and Valor “V” Devices
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR COMBAT “C” DEVICE
The "C" device was established to distinguish an award earned for exceptionally meritorious service or achievement performed under combat conditions on or after Jan. 7, 2016 (this is not retroactive prior to this date).
The device is only authorized if the service or achievement was performed while the service member was personally exposed to hostile action or under significant risk of hostile action (must have come under fire or engaged with the enemy with direct and lethal fire and are at the risk of grave danger):
While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States
While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party
The use of the "C" device is determined solely on the specific circumstances under which the service or achievement was performed. The award is not determined by geographic location. The fact the service was performed in a combat zone, a combat zone tax exclusion area, or an area designated for imminent danger pay, hardship duty pay, or hostile fire pay is not sufficient to qualify for the "C" device. The service member must have been personally exposed to hostile action or under significant risk of hostile action.
Rank/Grade will not be a factor in determining whether the "C" device is warranted, nor will any quotas, official or unofficial, be established limiting the number of "C" devices authorized for a given combat engagement, a given operation, or cumulatively within a given expanse of area or time.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR REMOTE “R” DEVICE
The "R" device was established to distinguish an award earned for direct hands-on employment of a weapon system that had a direct and immediate impact on a combat operation or other military operation (i.e. outcome of an engagement or specific effects on a target). Other military operations include Title 10, United States Code, support of non-Title 10 operations, and operations authorized by an approved execute order.
The action must have been performed through any domain and in circumstances that did not expose the individual to personal hostile action, or place him or her at significant risk of personal exposure to hostile action:
While engaged in military operations against an enemy of the United States; or
While engaged in military operations involving conflict against an opposing foreign force; or
While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in military operations with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party
Qualifying Career Fields
The "R" device may be awarded to Airmen who, during the period of the act, served in the remotely piloted aircraft; cyber; space; or Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance career fields on or after Jan. 7, 2016 (this is not retroactive prior to this date).
Basis for a Decoration
The "R" device is only authorized for a specific achievement (i.e. impact awards) and will not be authorized for sustained performance or service (i.e. end-of-tour, separation or retirement decorations)
Recognition for direct and immediate impact shall be based on the merit of the individual's actions, the basic criteria of the decoration, and the "R" device criteria
Performance of a normal duty or accumulation of minor acts will not justify the "R" device. The act must have been: performed in a manner significantly above that normally expected and sufficient to distinguish the individual above members performing similar acts
A decoration should only be recommended in cases where the event clearly merits special recognition of the action (i.e. achieving a strategic objective or saving of lives on the ground)
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR VALOR “V” DEVICE
The "V" device is worn on decorations to denote valor, an act or acts of heroism by an individual above what is normally expected while engaged in direct combat with an enemy of the United States, or an opposing foreign or armed force, with exposure to enemy hostilities and personal risk.
Effective Jan. 7, 2016, the “V” device is authorized on the Air Force Commendation Medal. As a reminder, the use of the "V" device on the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award is only authorized for the period of Jan. 11, 1996 to Jan. 1, 2014.
(NOTE: The establishment of the Gallant Unit Citation and Meritorious Unit Award warranted the discontinuance of the "V" device being authorized for approved USAF unit awards).
WEIGHTED AIRMAN PROMOTED SYSTEM POINT VALUE: 1