Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has approved the award of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) in addition to the Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) to qualifying Service members participating in or providing direct support to Operation Joint Endeavor (OJE) or Operation Joint Guard (OJG). For the purposes of the award, Operation Joint Endeavor began Nov. 20, 1995, and ended Dec. 19, 1996. Operation Joint Guard began Dec. 20, 1996 and ended June 20, 1998. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry H. Shelton recommended to Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen that he approve award of the AFEM as a one-time exception to Department of Defense (DoD) and military Service policies.
By policy the AFEM is awarded to U.S. Service member participants in major operations that encounter foreign armed resistance. The AFSM is awarded for service in major operations that do not encounter armed resistance. Military Service and DoD decorations and awards policies limit a Service member to only one decoration for the same act, achievement, or period of service.
However, Section 572 of the fiscal 1998 National Defense Authorization Act specified: "For the purpose of determining the eligibility of members and former members of the Armed Forces for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Secretary of Defense shall designate participation in Operation Joint Endeavor or Operation Joint Guard in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in such other areas in the region as the Secretary considers appropriate, as service in an area that meets the general requirements for the award of that medal." Since all U.S. military participants in OJE or OJG have already received or are eligible to receive the AFSM for their peacekeeping efforts in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in furtherance of the Dayton Peace Accords, the award of the AFEM for OJE or OJG is possible only as an exception to policy.
Award of the AFEM in this case is limited to those U.S. Service members participating in or providing direct support to OJE or OJG who were deployed in the designated area of eligibility: the countries of Bosnia-Herzegovina or Croatia, aboard U.S. naval vessels operating in the Adriatic Sea, and those respective air spaces. To qualify for the AFEM for OJE or OJG, U.S. Service members must be members of a unit participating for one or more days in OJE or
OJG within the designated geographic area of eligibility, or meet at least one of the following criteria:
Be deployed in the area of eligibility as an individual by official orders to OJE or OJG for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days; or
Participate as a regularly assigned crew member of an aircraft flying into, out of, or over the total land area of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, the Adriatic Sea and those respective air spaces.
The AFEM and AFSM are campaign and theater awards. All previous recipients of the AFSM for OJE and OJG outside the area of eligibility or not meeting the criteria described above will retain their AFSM. For service in either or both OJE and OJG, Service members are authorized only one award of the AFEM or one award of the AFSM or both medals. Second awards (bronze service stars) are not authorized for OJE and OJG.