On 20 September 2002, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, requested the Institute provide suggested designs. This was accomplished and the design was selected on 7 January 2003. Executive Order 13289, dated 12 March 2003, signed by President Bush, established this medal. The Office of The Under Secretary of Defense approved additions to the designated geographical areas of eligibility on 21 March 2005 and 29 December 2006.
In order of precedence, the GWOTEM will be worn before the GWOTSM and both shall directly follow the Kosovo Campaign Medal (KCM) (i.e., KCM, GWOTEM, GWOTSM, KDSM, etc.).
Soldiers may receive both the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GWOTEM) and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (GWOTSM) if they meet the requirements of both awards; however, the same period of service establishing eligibility for one cannot be used to justify service eligibility for the other.
Order of precedence and wear policy for service medals awarded to Army personnel is contained in Army Regulation (AR) 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority and supply of medals is contained in AR 600-8-22. The policy for display of campaign streamers on guidons/flags and supply of streamers is contained in Chapter 9, 840-10.