Department of the Army Civilian Service Decorations
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Secretary of the Army's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Materiel Acquisition


Obverse: On a background of a pentagon shape is a portrait of Henry Knox with the wording “SECRETARY OF WAR 1785-1794” in the upper portion and “HENRY KNOX” in the center (one word on either side of the portrait).

Reverse: Within a recessed triangle at the top, the words “AWARDED TO” are centered. Space for the name of the recipient and the date of award is available. The lower section is recessed with the words “FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.” In the upper portion of the border are “MATERIEL ACQUISITION” and “SECRETARY OF THE ARMY’S AWARD” is in the lower portion.


Henry Knox was the first Secretary of War after the War Department was established as an executive department by Act approved 7 August 1789. He had been Secretary of War before the change in the form of the Federal Government. Since this is the Secretary of the Army’s award, it is appropriate for the first Secretary of War to be commemorated by a medallion.

Eligibility and Criteria

See Army Regulation 672-20, Incentive Awards.


In a letter dated 16 August 1971, to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (I&L), the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command requested the establishment of a special achievement award subject as above to be presented annually by or on behalf of the Secretary of the Army. By memorandum dated 21 January 1972, to the Secretary of the Army, the Chairman, Army Incentive Awards Board recommended that subject award be established for approval and presentation at Headquarters, U.S. Army Materiel Command level, rather than Secretary of the Army level. The Board contended that there were no Secretary of the Army level periodic awards in any occupational or functional fields as narrowly delineated as the one proposed, and that approval of this award would open the door to proliferation of the Incentive Awards Program by establishment of similar awards for other functional areas. The recommendation of the Board was approved on 31 January 1972. In a memorandum dated 31 March 1972, to the Secretary of the Army, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (I&L) requested that the Army Incentive Awards Board be asked to reconsider its recommendation. The ASA (I&L) stated that the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics was of the opinion that the Board did not fully appreciate the broad functional area the award would cover. By memorandum dated 8 April 1972, to the Executive Secretary, Army Incentive Awards Board, LTC Pihl, Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Army requested that the Board reconsider its earlier recommendation that the award be sponsored by the Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command rather than by the Secretary of the Army. He stated that the Secretary had verbally approved the concept for this award on 19 November 1971 and that both the Secretary and Under Secretary had agreed to the award on 15 March 1972. In compliance with the Secretary’s desire, the Chairman of the Army Incentive Awards Board recommended in a memorandum dated 12 May 1972 to the Secretary of the Army, that the award be established as proposed. This recommendation was approved on 15 May 1972. The award was announced by Department of the Army letter dated 21 July 1972. It ranks directly below the Certificate of Appreciation. This award consists of a silver medallion, lapel button and citation certificate. The medallion will accompany the certificate only when the award is presented as an individual award.

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