Defense Superior Service Medal
A silver color metal and enamel pendant 1 7/8 inches (4.76 cm) in height overall consisting of a medium blue pentagon point up superimposed by a silver eagle with outspread wings charged on its breast with the shield of the United States and grasping in its talons three crossed arrows (as depicted on the seal of the Department of Defense) all silver, the wings projecting over and surmounting a silver arc encircling the top and sides of the pentagon and bearing nine conjoined silver stars above the wings, and two on each side below the wings, terminating in a silver wreath encircling the base composed of a laurel branch on the left and an olive branch on the right, the wreath surmounted by the extended ends of the arrows in base; at the top of the pendant a group of five graduated silver rays extending above the stars.
On an arc at the top the inscription "For Superior Service" above the pentagon which bears the inscription "From The Secretary of Defense To", all silver.
The pentagon refers to the five armed services, the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard (in time of war) and Air Force. It also alludes to the headquarters of the Department of Defense. The configuration of the eagle bearing the shield of the United States and grasping three arrows upon a medium blue background together with an arc of thirteen stars and wreath of laurel and olive refers to the seal of the Department of Defense and indicates the award of the medal in the name of the Secretary of Defense. The conjoined stars and silver rays signify unity and excellence in the performance of the mission of the Department of Defense on behalf of the Nation.
A ribbon 1 3/8 inch (3.49 cm) in width composed of the following vertical stripes: Golden Yellow 3/16 inch (.48 cm), Bluebird 1/4 inch (.64 cm), White 3/16 inch (.48 cm), Scarlet 1/8 inch (.32 cm), White 3/16 inch (.48 cm), Bluebird 1/4 inch (.64 cm) Golden Yellow 3/16 inch (.48 cm).
The Defense Superior Service Medal (DSSM) was established by Executive Order 11904, 6 February 1976. It is awarded by the Secretary of Defense to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after 6 February 1976, rendered superior meritorious service in a position of significant responsibility. The prescribing directive for the DSSM is DOD 1348.33-M, Manual of Military Decorations & Awards.