Unit awards recognize entire organizations for outstanding heroism or
achievement performed during periods of war, international tension, national
emergencies, or extraordinary situations that involve national interests. They are not
intended to recognize single, individual actions, or the actions of a sub-element of a unit
or organization, but instead to acknowledge the combined efforts of every member of a
unit or organization.
Appendix 2 describes the U.S. unit awards that have been authorized for the
Armed Forces of the United States. Until 1981, the accomplishments of joint
activities could only be recognized by Service unit awards. Due to the very nature of
those activities and the varying criteria among the Services, it became necessary to
establish a means by which joint activities could be recognized. With the JMUA, the
Department of Defense provides a consistent means for recognizing such activities.
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA), awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense, is intended
to recognize joint units and activities for meritorious achievement or service, superior
to that which is normally expected. The policies and procedures pertaining to that
unique award are outlined in sections C4.2. through C4.8., below.
All joint units and activities (as defined in Chapter 1, paragraph C1.2.1.) are
eligible for award of the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) in recognition of exceptionally meritorious conduct in
the performance of outstanding service. However, a unit or activity's outstanding
accomplishment of its normally assigned and expected mission is not in and of itself
sufficient justification for award approval. Instead, qualifying achievements must be
superior to that which is expected under one of the following conditions and should be
operational in nature.
During action in combat with an armed enemy of the United States.
In a declared national emergency situation.
Under extraordinary circumstances that involve national interests.
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) shall not be awarded to any DoD activity that has received any
other unit award for the same achievement or period of service.
Only those members of the Armed Forces of the United States who were
present at the time and directly participated in the service or achievement for 30 days
or more, or for the period cited if less than 30 days, shall be authorized to wear the
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) ribbon. Members must be permanently assigned or attached by official orders to
the joint unit receiving the JMUA. Local commanders may waive, on an individual
basis, the 30-day minimum time requirement for individuals (e.g., Reserve personnel on
active duty and TDY and/or TAD personnel), who, in the opinion of the commander
contributed directly to the achievement cited, and were assigned on official orders to
the awarded unit during the approved time frames.
A JTF headquarters may be awarded the JMUA. If a JTF headquarters is
awarded the JMUA, every member permanently assigned or attached TDY or TAD to the
JTF headquarters is eligible to wear the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) ribbon. Assigned and/or attached
(including TDY and/or TAD) status is determined by official orders that specify the JTF
headquarters as the duty unit.
Service units or individuals deployed in support of a JTF, but not assigned
and/or attached to the JTF by official orders, are not eligible for the JMUA, even if they
are under the operational control of the JTF. The Services may award appropriate
Service unit awards to their units assigned and/or attached to a JTF.
PREPARATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendation for the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) must be in narrative form
Minimally, the recommendation must include the following:
Name and location of unit, activity, or organization.
Inclusive dates for the award.
A narrative justification containing specific and factual data about
what the activity accomplished, how it was done, what the benefits or results were, and
why or how the achievement or service significantly exceeded normal unit duty
performance. The narrative justification shall not exceed three single-spaced
typewritten pages. Supporting documents, as appropriate, may be attached.
A listing of qualifying Service members attached but not
permanently assigned, detailing full name, rank and/or rate, social security number,
branch of Service, and permanent unit at the time of the award period. That list must be
sorted or grouped by branch of Service.
Award recommendations shall be endorsed by commanders at all levels.
SUBMISSION OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendations for the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) shall be submitted through command channels, as
Recommendations for joint activities that report directly to an OSD
Principal Staff Assistant or to the Secretary of a Military Department, for which he or
she has been designated the "Executive Agent for the Secretary of Defense," shall be
forwarded through those channels and to the Chief, Military Personnel Division, WHS.
DA&M will forward a copy of the approval letter to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense (Military Manpower and Personnel Policy) (DASD(MPP)), Office of the
Recommendations for joint activities that report directly to or through the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall be forwarded to the Director, Joint Staff.
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) is awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense; however, authority to
award is delegated to the following:
The ASD(FMP), or designee, for activities that report directly to an OSD
Principal Staff Assistant or for which the Secretary of a Military Department has been
designated the "Executive Agent for the Secretary of Defense." ASD(FMP) delegated
authority to Director, Administration and Management, to approve or disapprove Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA)
and grant exceptions to policy for award recommendations under the Deputy Under
Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Memorandum (reference (m)).
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or designee, for activities that
report directly to or through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A Member of Congress can request a review of a proposal for the award or presentation
of a decoration (or the upgrading of a decoration) that is not authorized to be presented
or awarded due to limitations established by law or policy for timely submission of a
recommendation (reference (a)).
MANNER OF WEAR
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) shall have precedence after the Presidential Unit Citation, but
before the Military Service unit awards.
An oak-leaf cluster is authorized for wear for each additional award of the
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA).
Civilians within an organization awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) will be awarded a
civilian Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) lapel pin.
Streamers shall be obtained by the unit through normal supply channels.
Eligible units of a JTF awarded the JMUA are authorized streamers in accordance with
their Service's policies.
EXCEPTIONS TO POLICY
Requests for exceptions to policies or determinations about eligibility for the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA)
shall be forwarded through appropriate command channels to the Chief, Military
Personnel Division, Personnel and Security Directorate, WHS. WHS is authorized to
approve, disapprove, and grant exceptions to policy for JMUA under the Deputy Under
Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Memorandum (reference (m)). The
DJS has authority to grant exceptions for those units who report directly to, or through
the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Disapproval of requests may be made at any
level having an established command or staff position authorized in the grade of O-8.
Authorized Devices: Bronze Oak Leaf, Silver Oak Leaf