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10 U.S. Code § 1125 - Recognition for accomplishments: award of trophies

The Secretary of Defense may—
award medals, trophies, badges, and similar devices to members, units, or agencies of an armed force under his jurisdiction for excellence in accomplishments or competitions related to that armed force; and
provide badges or buttons in recognition of special service, good conduct, and discharge under conditions other than dishonorable.
(Added Pub. L. 89–529, § 1(1), Aug. 11, 1966, 80 Stat. 339.)
Executive Documents
Ex. Ord. No. 11545. Defense Distinguished Service Medal

Ex. Ord. 11545, July 9, 1970, 35 F.R. 11161, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 14085, § 6, Oct. 3, 2022, 87 F.R. 60543, provided:

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is ordered as follows:

Section 1. There is hereby established a Defense Distinguished Service Medal, with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances, for award by the Secretary of Defense to a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who performed exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a specified or unified command, a Defense agency, or such other joint activity as may be designated by the Secretary of Defense.

Sec. 2. The Defense Distinguished Service Medal and appurtenances thereto shall be of appropriate design approved by the Secretary of Defense and shall be awarded under such regulations as the Secretary shall prescribe. These regulations shall place the Defense Distinguished Service Medal in an order of precedence after the Medals of Honor and the Distinguished Service Crosses of the Armed Forces and before the Distinguished Service Medals of the Armed Forces.

Sec. 3. No more than one Defense Distinguished Service Medal shall be awarded to any one person, but for each succeeding exceptionally meritorious period of service justifying such an award, a suitable device may be awarded to be worn with that Medal as prescribed by appropriate regulations of the Department of Defense.

Sec. 4. The Defense Distinguished Service Medal or device may be awarded posthumously and, when so awarded, may be presented to such representative of the deceased as may be deemed appropriate by the Secretary of Defense.