The Pentagon has authorized the award of the Armed Forces Service Medal to troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department. Because the operation remains ongoing, no end date for the award has been specified.
President Bill Clinton created the Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) on January 11, 1996, under Executive Order 12985. The AFSM is a deployed service medal that is presented to those service members who engage in "significant activity" for which no other U.S. campaign or service medal is authorized. The term "significant activity" is determined by theater commanders and is normally deemed to be participation in a U.S. military operation considered to hold a high degree of scope, impact, and international significance that the operation warrants the presentation of a permanent service medal.
"The Under Secretary of Defense has authorized the Armed Forces Service Medal to service members who have provided support to CBP, starting from April 7, 2018 [until a date to be determined]," said Army Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a Defense Department spokesman at the Pentagon.