Operational Service Medal - Border Protection

20 July 2012

Signal issued by Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN

Today the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Minister Snowdon, announced that the Government has determined a new award,the Australian Operational Service Medal (OSM) will be established to replace the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM), Australian Service Medal (ASM) and campaign medals. The announcement of this new award was made by the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel in Darwin on 19 July 2012.

The OSM was established by Her Majesty the Queen on 22 May 2012 to accord recognition to members of the ADF and certain civilians who render service in military operations. The Commonwealth of Australia Gazette no. S67 dated 6 June 2012 provided the promulgated letter patent and regulations for the OSM.

The OSM will be awarded instead of the Australian Active Service Medal and Australian Service Medal for all new Defence operations. It will have both an ADF and civilian variant.

For ADF members, the medal with a unique ribbon will be issued for each new operation. Second and subsequent awards to the same person on different operations will be in the form of another medal (using the same medal design) but with its own unique ribbon. For ADF members there will also be provision in certain circumstances for accumulated service devices to be issued for additional periods of qualifying service on the same operation (similar to the numerals issued by the United Nations).

The civilian variant will see the same medal design but with its own quote civilian unquote ribbon. Only one medal will be awarded to the same person and second and subsequent awards on different operations will be in the form of a clasp (similar to the current AASM and ASM process). There is no provision for accumulated service devices for the civilian variant. The civilian variant will only be awarded to civilians who are employed on a military operation under the auspices of the Defence Force Discipline Act.

One of the most important aspects of this new award is that it will recognise those members of the ADF who have been involved in Border Protection operations since 1997 and those who continue to be involved through Operation Resolute. This is a significant outcome for thousands of Navy personnel who have been protecting Australian sovereignty under hazardous conditions for a number of years now. Navy men and women have been exposed to the extremes of weather and environment, from the deep southern ocean to the tropical north. They have been exposed to the desperate and the vulnerable, to criminal behaviour, to health risks and sometimes armed opposition. This award provides worthy and just recognition for all of you and our Army and Air Force colleagues who have been involved in these often difficult and hazardous tasks. This recognition has been sought for a number of years. Is it not driven by recent events and it is not just about people smuggling. It acknowledges the wide range of threats and hazards that our people have faced and continue to deal with today.

The Border Protection OSM ribbon will feature a central ochre stripe flanked by one blue and one green strip. Given the production timeframes for striking of the medal it is hoped that the first medals may be presented by the end of 2012. It will take some time to distribute medals to all eligible personnel and I ask for your patience while this occurs.

I welcome this announcement and I encourage all of you who believe you may be eligible for this award to view details at the Directorate of Honours and Awards (external link) website. However at this time you are requested not to apply direct to the Directorate of Honours and Awards. A process is being established which will involve certified lists of eligible personnel being provided by those areas that are responsible for assigning personnel to Border Protection operations. Once this process has been finalised, further information will be promulgated.