22 Jan 2008

The federal government has formally accepted the NATO Medal with clasp ‘ISAF' for wear by Australian Defence Force Personnel for their service in Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Defence civilians working with ISAF are also eligible for the award.

In order for Australian personnel to officially accept and wear a foreign award, such as the NATO medal, a formal offer needs to be made to the Australian Government by the country or international organisation wishing to confer the award.

The Commander ISAF, General Dan K McNeill, made this offer earlier this year and the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, accepted it on the authority of the Australian Government.

The NATO Medal with clasp ‘ISAF' is awarded for participation in NATO-led operations conducted in Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper.

To qualify, ADF members need to complete 30 days force assigned service with Operation Slipper in the area of operations from 28 July 2006.

Aircrew force assigned to Operation Slipper need to complete 30 sorties, flown at the rate of one sortie per day, and flown from outside the area of operations.

Dual assignment to Operations Catalyst and Slipper does not count for eligibility unless the member has met the critieria and has served in Afghanistan with Operation Slipper.

The qualifying period is not required in the event of death in action, missing presumed killed in action or evacuation from the operational area in the event of injury while on duty with the operation.

Presentation of the medal before 2 November 2007 does not automatically mean that the Governor-General has approved its official acceptance and wearing. ADF members who have already received the medal from NATO will need to apply for approval through the Directorate of Honours & Awards.

Eligibility will need to be confirmed by providing a certified copy of the official NATO certificate that would have been issued with the medal.

From 2 November 2007 the Australian Commander in Afghanistan will submit lists of names of eligible personnel to NATO, which will then forward the awards for presentation in Afghanistan or Australia.

The Commander will then send the lists to the Directorate of Honours & Awards, which will arrange for the Governor-General to approve wearing of the medal. This is a similar practice to that followed for UN medals. This means that in the future personnel will be able to wear their medals following presentation.

If an ADF member believes that they are entitled to the NATO medal but they have not received it, they should apply for the medal through their chain of command to HQ JOC.

If a miniature, replacement medal or extra ribbon is required then the eligible member will need to purchase these items themselves.

Foreign honours and awards, such as the NATO award, are to be mounted immediately after all Australian honours or awards, and in the order of date of approval for wear.

If you need any more information please contact the Directorate on 1800 111 321.