U.S. nonmilitary decorations authorized for wear on Army uniforms are listed below in their order of precedence. Personnel will wear other U.S. nonmilitary (Federal agency) decorations based upon date of receipt. If more than one decoration is awarded by the same agency, the decorations are worn in the order of precedence as established by the awarding agency. Personnel will not wear U.S. nonmilitary decorations that duplicate recognition for service or an act for which a military decoration has already been awarded. Awards given by a jurisdiction inferior to the Federal Government are not authorized for wear on the Army uniform, except as specified in paragraph j, page 230-231 of DA PAM 670-1.

Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Presidential Citizen’s Medal

The Presidential Citizens Medal will recognize U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service outside of their regular jobs, including individuals:

Who have a demonstrated commitment to service in their own community or in communities farther from home. Someone who has engaged in activities that have had an impact in their local community, on a community or communities elsewhere in the United States or on fellow citizens living or stationed around the world.

Who have helped their country or their fellow citizens through one or more extraordinary acts. Individuals who have demonstrated notable skill and grace, selflessly placed themselves in harm’s way, taken unusual risks or steps to protect others, made extraordinary efforts to further a national goal, or otherwise conducted themselves admirably when faced with unusually challenging circumstances.  

Whose service relates to a long-term or persistent problem. Individuals who have made efforts to combat stubbornly persistent problems that impact entire communities, for example those who have taken innovative steps to address hunger, homelessness, the dropout crisis, lack of access to health care, and other issues that plague too many Americans.

Whose service has had a sustained impact on others’ lives and provided inspiration for others to serve. The ideal nominee for a Citizens Medal is a person whose work has had a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of others.

President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service Award 

Definition and Authorization

The President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service (PADFCS) is the highest honor the Federal Government can grant to a career civilian employee. It is in recognition of exceptional achievements that are of unusual benefit to the Nation. The award consists of an inscribed gold medal suspended from a blue and white ribbon, a lapel rosette made from the ribbon, and a certificate signed by the President. Executive Order 10717, as amended by Executive Orders 10979, 11085, and 12014, authorizes this award. These orders give the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) the authority to establish procedures for submitting nominations for this award and for reviewing and making recommendations on award selections to the President.


Agencies may consider for the PADFCS any Federal employee who has already received the department's or independent agency's highest award. Presidential appointees are not eligible for this award unless, in the opinion of OPM, they are currently serving in a career position.

Nomination Criteria

Agencies may present the award for an employee's best achievements having current impact on improving Government operations or serving the public interest to include one or more of the following:

  1. Imagination in developing creative solutions to problems in Government;
  2. Courage in persevering against great odds and difficulties;
  3. High ability in accomplishing
    1. extraordinary scientific or technological achievement,
    2. providing outstanding leadership in planning, organizing,
    3. directing a major program of unusual importance and complexity, or
    4. performing an extraordinary act of credit to the Government and the country.
  4. Long and distinguished career service.
  5. The importance of the achievements to the Government and to the public interest is so outstanding the employee is deserving of greater public recognition than that which can be accorded by the head of the department or agency in which they are employed.

Achievements should have had at least a national impact.

Agency Responsibilities

Submit written nominations to the Director, OPM, 1900 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20415-0001. The head of the department or independent agency must sign the nomination.

The nomination must contain the following information:

  1. A brief biographical sketch, significant educational background, significant employment record, a specific statement of type of appointment status, current grade level, and other pertinent information.
  2. A proposed citation for the signature of the President. The citation should highlight the significance of the individual's achievements in 2 paragraphs containing 50 to 60 words total.
  3. Additional information as follows:
    1. Summary of achievement.
    2. Details (in non-technical language) illustrating how the nominee was personally responsible for the achievement.
    3. Examples of personal qualities of the nominee which made the achievements possible.
  4. A statement describing any significant awards already received by the nominee that would support the nomination.
  5. A statement that there is nothing in the nominee's background that would embarrass the President.

Agencies must not release any preliminary information about a nomination. Once the President has approved an award, then the nominating agency should provide wide publicity.

Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award

Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom

Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award

Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award 

Secretary Distinguished Service Award

National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal

National Intelligence Superior Service Medal

National Intelligence Exceptional Achievement Medal 

Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Space Flight Medal

Public Health Service Commendation Medal

Public Health Service Achievement Medal

Department of State Distinguished Service Award

Department of State Distinguished Honor Award

Department of State Superior Honor Award

Department of State Meritorious Honor Award

Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service

Meritorious Civilian Service Award

Superior Civilian Service Award

Commander’s Award for Civilian Service

Achievement Medal for Civilian Service