Authorized by the Secretary of Defense
on June 10, 1981, this award was originally called the Department of Defense Meritorious
Unit Award. It is awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense to Joint Activities (all
services) for meritorious achievement or service, superior to that which is normally
expected, for actions in the following situations: combat with an armed enemy of the
United States, or during a declared national emergency, or under extraordinary
circumstances that involve national interests.