Ribbon: Army Defense Distingusished Service Medal The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Army, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be such as to merit recognition for service which is clearly exceptional. Exceptional performance of normal duty will not alone justify an award of this decoration. For service not related to actual war, the term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of a conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of high positions of great importance. Awards may be made to persons other than members of the Armed Forces of the United States for wartime services only, and only then under exceptional circumstances with the express approval of the President in each case.