No More National Defense Service Medal (NDSM)

National Defense Service Medal (NDSM)

No More National Defense Service Medal (NDSM)

You read that right, the National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) is no longer going to be given to new recruits. The Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signed a memorandum stating that the medal will no longer be awarded to service members after Dec 31, 2022. He wrote “Termination is based on the United States no longer conducting large-scale combat operations in designated geographic locations as a result of the terrorist attacks on the United States that occurred September 11, 2001,”

The NDSM is only awarded during periods of “national emergency” and the current operations around the world do not qualify as a “national emergency”.

The NDSM was established and first awarded in 1953 for the Korean War, then again for the Vietnam War, and once again between 1990 to 1995 for Desert Storm. Since September 11, 2001, the medal has been awarded to recruits coming out of basic training and it was starting to be treated like a participation trophy for those enlisting in the U.S. armed services.

U.S. troops are authorized to wear the medal if they served during one of the following time periods.

Korean WarJune 27, 1950July 27, 1954
Vietnam WarJanuary 1, 1961August 14, 1974
Persian Gulf WarAugust 2, 1990November 30, 1995
Global War on TerrorismSeptember 11, 2001December 31, 2022

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