Defence Force Service Medal

The Defence Force Service Medal was awarded to full-time service personnel for 15 years diligent service in the Australian Defence Force.

The medal is one of three Defence Force Service Awards that recognised long-service. The other two awards were:

These three awards are no longer issued. 

How it is awarded

The Governor-General awarded the Defence Force Service Medal on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Force Staff or his/her delegate.

Fifteen years efficient service completed on or after 14 February 1975 counted as qualifying service. The qualifying period is not less than 12 years permanent service with a period of up to three years Reserve service allowed to be counted towards the 15 years qualification period. Clasps were awarded for each additional five years of permanent service.

There are no post-nominal entitlements for the Defence Force Service Medal. 


The Defence Force Service Medal is part of a long tradition of rewarding long service and good conduct by a member of a nation's armed forces.

Britain has the most developed system with the oldest Imperial award for naval long service introduced by King William IV in 1831.

The Defence Force Service Awards were established on 20 April 1982 by Letters Patent, providing distinctive Australian military long service honours.

Between 1975 and 1982, defence force long service was recognised by the award of the National Medal, which is now primarily a civilian award. Prior to this, Australians in the defence and reserve forces were eligible for Imperial awards.

Along with the Reserve Force Decoration and the Reserve Force Medal , the Defence Force Service Medal was replaced by the Defence Long Service Medal in 1998. Members already holding this medal may continue to earn clasps to the medal even though the medal itself is no longer awarded.

Medal design

The Defence Force Service Medal features the Joint Service Emblem on a seven-pointed star.

The cupro-nickel circular, chamfered medal is ensigned with the Crown of Saint Edward.

The back of the medal is inscribed with the words 'For Efficient Service in the Permanent Forces'.

Medal Ribbon

The 32 millimetre-wide ribbon has three equal vertical bands of gold/azure-blue/gold, edged with narrow vertical bands of azure-blue. 

Award category

Other Defence Service Medals